Liberty Theatre

114 N. 4th Avenue,
Pasco, WA 99301

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Liberty Theatre

The Cord Theatre was opened in 1914.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

thisisjohnbook on January 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I’ve learned that for a brief time, Pasco High School’s drama class had used this for performances in the 30’s and 40’s. As times changed, it would become a porn theater, which also had the adult book store known as Elmo’s next door.

For years I’ve heard rumors on not why it was finally shut down, but why there were no buyers. Some would say the damage inside was significant, while others would claim that downtown Pasco was not as desirable as it used to be. After decades of being shut down, I read last year that the theater space has been bought and will turn into a Mexican clothing store and boutique, along with a brief display at the entrance of what the building used to hold. Here’s a photo I had taken last year as it was being stripped down, cleared out, and cleaned, a mere shadow of what it used to be.

I do know there were plans in the 1990’s to turn it into a concert venue for local and touring punk and indie rock bands, but the damage inside proved too costly for repair.

thisisjohnbook on January 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Another look at the theater, this time a front view, circa 1940’s. Pasco was once part of Yakima County, thus its placement on a Yakima-based page, but the roof in this photo is the same as it is today, in its present state.

KenLayton on August 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

The theater was destroyed by an August 14, 2013 fire. :(

bigjoe59 on August 22, 2013 at 10:30 am


i’m sorry to hear of the theater being gutted by fire especially since the structure could have been renovated and saved. as we say in NYC i bet it was “a business fire”. whenever an historic renovatable building in NYC is gutted by fire that always my guess as to what happened.

thisisjohnbook on August 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

That’s what I said too when it happened last week. Initial reports had said that police noticed the back entrance was opened, but also didn’t say if that door had been opened beforehand. It was a few days away from getting a public inspection that would’ve made it possible for the new owners to open their mini-mall in there. However, a new article posted at the Tri-City Herald states that the fire may have been due to electrical issues. I’m not sure if that is true, although if the owner was that close from an inspection, this obviously meant that he failed. Here’s the article in question.

KenLayton on August 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

Yes, it apparently was just a few days from reopening.

NoReturn on July 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm

It sounds like the fire was at the Liberty Theater nearby—I just checked out the old Pasco Theater, and the outside looks pretty good.

DavidZornig on March 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

1943 photo added credit Vintage Tri-Cities Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm

The Liberty Theatre building was not destroyed by the 2013 fire, though the roof was damaged beyond repair. A permit for the installation of new roof trusses was issued by the city in February, 2014. The city itself paid for emergency repairs to prevent the walls from collapsing. As NoReturn (second comment back) saw the building still standing in 2016, the repairs apparently succeeded. 114 N. 4th Avenue, #B, is currently the office of American Family Insurance, so I would guess the repaired building has been divided into space for at least two offices.

The two year delay in construction following the original announcement of the theater project in 1912 led to a change of architects. This item is from the February 12, 1914, issue of Engineering News:

“Pasco, Wash.—J. E. Doughty, Arch., Pasco, has prepared plans for the construction of the Pasco Playhouse, to be erected on Lewis and Clark Sts. The estimated cost is $300,000.”
The theater was of course between Lewis and Clark Streets, and I doubt if it cost anywhere near the $300,000 the item claimed, but despite the name “Pasco Playhouse” the item surely is about the Cord/Liberty.

Doughty’s involvement in the project is confirmed by this fairly detailed history of the Liberty Theatre written by Sarah LeCompte in 1984. LeCompte doesn’t mention the name Showbox Theatre, but does in the opening paragraph call it the Liberty-Playtime Theatre.

JackCoursey on May 27, 2019 at 9:52 pm

A new veneer has been added and some of the original features have restored.

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