47 St. Helens Avenue,
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Tacoma’s Temple Theatre was built in 1926, designed by architect Ambrose J. Russell, the contractors were Biehn and Chalmers; the theater officially opened in October 1927. This theater was originally known as the Heilig Theatre and was renamed Hamrick’s Temple Theatre in 1931. Temple Theatre had a seating capacity of 1,800 people. The building served as both a Masonic temple and a theater. The building is Greek in style with interior Egyptian detail.
Upon the theater’s opening, the “Temple of Minerva” backdrop from the Tacoma Theater was presented to the new theater. The backdrop was painted by artist Thomas G. Moses in 1889 and had hung in the Tacoma Theatre for 37 years.
The Temple Theatre advertised they had the “widest proscenium arch of any theater or hall on Pacific Coast”. Throughout the years, the Temple Theatre had a number of movie stars making special appearances, including Tallulah Bankhead and Lucille Ball.
In 1954, CinemaScope was installed at the theater.
The theater’s original 2/9 Kimball organ remains today and is original in all respects, being one of only five original installations in the State of Washington.
The Temple Theatre was renamed the Saint Helens Convention Center in 1992 and the Landmark Convention Center in 1995. Acccording to the Landmark Convention Center’s website, the theater now seats 1,620 patrons.
Movies are rarely, if ever, shown at the Temple Theatre. However, the site is still used for live programs, like concerts and wrestling.
The Landmark, with its numerous conference rooms, is one of the most popular places in Tacoma for wedding receptions, luncheons, school dances and the like.
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