Avalon Theatre

308 4th Avenue E,
Olympia, WA 98501

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KenLayton on July 1, 2018 at 8:40 pm

There is still talk that the remaining 4 walls of the theater will be torn down and apartments will replace the theater. It looks more and more like the apartments will win out.

Dadfive on July 1, 2018 at 10:58 am

Kathy, Ken, others

I have the Excel popcorn popper from the Avalon theater. I picked it up from a collector on the west side of the state. I have disassenled it and in the process of restoration. And when restored it will end up being a center piece of our 1930’ thru 1950’s era home theatre.

I’m very interested in getting information and a photo of Mrs Tryon to place w the popper. I live in eastern Washington, but travel to west side, so would be glad to meet and visit w the family.

Would really appreciate any help in locating family memebers in the Olympia area.



KenLayton on August 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

Opened on Thursday April 26, 1928 and closed Sunday June 1, 1952.

KenLayton on June 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Nothing else has been done with the remaining portion of the building. There is still talk that this site will be turned into condos.

jerryelsea on July 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

When I knew the Avalon in 1951 and early ‘52, it looked ready to breathe its last. The whole place smelled like popcorn. Still, it was the only one of the four downtown Olympia theaters to guarantee “always a double feature,” albeit strictly second-run. (Other movie houses were the State, Capitol and Olympic — all upscale compared with the gone-to-seed Avalon.) Despite the twin-bill obligation, the Avalon’s proprietors usually managed to package the program for three hours total — example, “Samson and Delilah” plus “Bowery Boys.” That meant parents could drop the kids off a 1 and pick them up at 4.

KenLayton on March 10, 2007 at 4:51 am

More bad news. A local business newspaper is reporting the building has been sold. It is to be torn down and be replaced with condos!

KenLayton on November 15, 2006 at 7:39 am

Bad news….all work stopped and building put up for sale.

Hodges Commercial Real Estate
626 Columbia St. NW, Suite 1-A
Olympia, Wash. 98501
Phone: (360) 943-5079
Contact: Larry Gilliam at extension # 209


There’s a pdf file about this building but it makes absolutely no mention of it’s life as the historic Avalon Theater, only it’s last life as Griswold Office Supply. Check out the link at:


KenLayton on May 3, 2006 at 4:52 am

Good news, according to the “Development Reports” in the Olympian newspaper, permits are in submission phase ‘for restoration of the Avalon movie theater’ by BJSS Duarte Bryant architects. YES!

KathyRuse on February 15, 2006 at 5:58 am

I have a great photo of the Avalon Theatre taken in 1929 (“Say It With Songs,” Al Jolson’s first full-length talkie, was showing at the time). I will upload it when that feature is reactivated. My grandfather, Arthur Hamer, was a projectionist at the Avalon for the entire time it was open (April 27, 1928 until June 1951, according to a newspaper article about his retirement). My mom virtually grew up inside the theatre, developing her great love of movies there, and still remembers the “popcorn lady,” Mrs. Tryon.

KenLayton on September 6, 2005 at 4:40 am

Well after all these months, nothing more has been done. The walls have indeed been braced with a criss-cross mesh of steel “I” beams, but still no roof. The building is just an empty shell and is now boarded up at the street level to keep people out. Nothing is being done at this theater right now. :(

KenLayton on November 19, 2004 at 7:43 am

The building is being saved! There has been a tall crane there for the past two weeks installing brand new steel I beams bracing the walls and getting ready to put on a new roof. Hooray!

KenLayton on August 2, 2004 at 9:28 am

Building was gutted by fire on July 31, 2004.