Varsity Theater

4329 University Way NE,
Seattle, WA 98105

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Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1940, in September of 2003 I found the Varsity Theater to be open and busy showing movies. It was situated in the Meister building. “Varsity” was spelled out in red letters with a yellow background in between twin marquees that extended out from the building at an angle.

Contributed by Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 3, 2005 at 11:59 am

If you check the website that TC posted, you will see that this theater has 3 screens.

kateymac01 on May 16, 2005 at 12:32 am

A little history from the Varsity’s Web site:

The Varsity has been operating as a movie theatre since 1940. Since there was no room to build outward, the theatre was expanded vertically with the addition of two upstairs screens in 1985. These smaller auditoriums feature high-back ultra-cushy seats with large wall-to-wall screens.

KenRoe on May 16, 2005 at 4:00 am

Listed in Film Daily Yearbook, 1950 edition, as having a seating capacity of 471 when it was a single screen.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 10, 2006 at 6:05 am

This is another recent photo of the Varsity Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Here is another photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Here are two 1982 photos:



Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2011 at 2:33 am

The Meister Building was built in 1921, according to this historical site summary from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. The original architect of the building was William White. The expansion and conversion of the building into the Varsity Theatre took place in 1940, and was designed by theater architect Bjarne Moe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2011 at 2:42 am

I should have said that the conversion of the building to a theater in 1940 was designed by Bjarne Moe. The expansion of the building took place much later, when the two additional screens were added.

The Varsity got an updating in the mid-1950s, which was handled by the B. F. Shearer Company. Boxoffice of October 22, 1955, featured a two-page article about the project, starting here.

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