Capitol Theater

206 East 5th Avenue,
Olympia, WA 98501

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Eiki 16mm projector

The Capitol Theater shows art, foreign, and classic films Sunday thru Thursday. Rock bands play onstage on Fridays and Saturdays.

The theater suffered major plaster damage to the ceiling during a February 28th, 2001 earthquake, but has since been repaired and re-opened.

Contributed by Ken Layton

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

kencmcintyre on November 13, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I know that. I was just there, so I was curious about the exact date.

kencmcintyre on November 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

That’s too bad. Missed it by a couple of days.

kencmcintyre on November 14, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Interesting. Thanks.

pkings on November 19, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Hi, I’m very pleased to have found this thread. I’m really enthused about the theatre. I’ve been an OFS volunteer for about 4 years, and a projectionist at the Capital Theatre for about the last two years. I have a picture of myself and some friends here in front of the new marquee at its unveiling at opening night of the recent 25th annual Olympia Film Festival. Lets see if this works..

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TLSLOEWS on February 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Nice shot of the new vertical,looks very much like the old one in the shots.

KenLayton on September 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

The Capitol Theater has been sold to the Olympia Film Society.

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KenLayton on August 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm


Theater opens Tuesday October 7, 1924.

Theater remodeled March 1937.

Major fire damages theater. Balcony, mezzanine, and projection booth destroyed. Roof and ceiling damaged. Fire alarm turned in at 9:28 A.M. of Saturday April 24, 1937. Cause of fire determined to be spontaneous combustion of a single reel of nitrate 35mm film that had just been delivered the night before and was temporarily in the janitor’s closet in the mezzanine awaiting to be taken to the projection booth. Theater will be closed for several months to repair the damage.

Theater reopens after repairing the fire damage on Wednesday August 25, 1937. A brand new Western Electric “Mirrophonic” sound system was installed along with hearing assistance headphones available in selected seats.

KenLayton on August 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

The theater got remodeled again in 1948. Theater reopened on Friday May 7, 1948. Installed were Gulistan carpets and draperies along with Heywood-Wakefield seats.

KenLayton on August 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Boxoffice magazine did a story about the April 24, 1937 fire. It is on this page:

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

February 25 to March 6, 1937 the theater was closed for repairs/remodeling due to a previous small fire in mid February 1937. Then came the big fire of April 24, 1937.

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