Northgate Theatre

10 Northgate Plaza,
Seattle, WA 98125

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Northgate Theatre

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The Northgate Theatre opened on September 28, 1951 with Jeanne Crain in “Take Care of My Little Girl” and Sally Forrest in “Hard, Fast and Beautiful”. Seating was provide on a stadium plan, with a raised stepped section at the rear. The Northgate Theatre boasted Seattle’s largest staff of ushers and the country’s largest crying room. The interior was decorated by interior designer Anthony B. Heinsbergen in a Northwest Indian motif, and the theatre was the anchor of the Northgate Shopping Center which had 80 retail units.

The theatre was sold to Cineplex Odeon in 1987 and began its decline during the 1990’s under Loews Cineplex. By the end, broken seats, falling panelling, and ripped up carpet greeted what few patrons came out to support the old place.

Seattle’s Northgate Theatre, which is often regarded by some historians as the first shopping center movie house, went dark in 2002 and was demolished in December of 2005.

Contributed by John Dodd, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 8, 2006 at 2:33 pm

This link has some photos of the Northgate Theater during demolition. Click each photo to expand it.

Davidfox on February 14, 2007 at 12:12 pm

The Northgate Shopping Center originally had an Indian theme (the carved totem survives at the north entrance) and so did the Northgate Theater when it was new. The restrooms were labeled “Braves” and “Squaws.” Yes, definitely the 50s. The names were changed to “Ladies” and “Gentlemen” in more enlightened times.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 16, 2007 at 6:47 am

This is a 2/21/2002 article about the closing of the Northgate Theater.

“Loews Cineplex Drops Curtains on Single-Screen Theater in Seattle.

Source: The Seattle Times
Byline: Moira Macdonald

Feb. 21—Loews Cineplex Entertainment, which owns eight multiplex theaters in the Seattle area, confirmed yesterday that the Northgate Theater, one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses in Seattle, would close its doors, effective today.

Built in 1951, the cavernous Northgate boasted a huge screen and seating for 1,500 people and a crying room for parents with babies. But it has long been deteriorating. In recent years, the theater has been known more for sticky floors, broken seats and weirdly decorative mildew patterns on its walls and ceilings than for the quality of its presentation.

The cinema’s closing is the latest in a series of local theater closures by Loews, which has been struggling under Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

“The Northgate is a single-screen theater, and it’s really not economical for us to operate it any longer,” Loews Corporate Vice President Mindy Tucker said. “We’ve closed over 100 theaters around the country as part of the bankruptcy process.”

The chain, which runs more than 240 theaters in North America, is “still reviewing some of the theaters in our portfolio” for possible additional closures.

In the Seattle area, Loews runs Meridian 16 in downtown Seattle, Uptown in Lower Queen Anne, Oak Tree on Aurora Avenue North, Lewis and Clark in SeaTac, and Grand Cinemas in Lynnwood, Factoria, Woodinville and Redmond Town Center".

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm

The Danz Family Photograph Collection at the University of Washington lists a photo (the photo itself is not available online) from the preview for the grand opening of the Northgate Theatre. Among the people in the photo, according to its description at the UW web site, are the architect of the theater, John Graham, Jr., and the decorator, A.B. “Heinzberger” (clearly meant to read Heinsbergen.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 24, 2010 at 12:54 am

Boxoffice of September 22, 1951, also names John Graham as the architect of the Northgate Theatre. The original operator was Sterling Theatres.

An ad for RCA carpet (who knew that RCA made carpeting for theaters?) in Boxoffice of October 4, 1952, features a photo of the Northgate’s lobby. The Native American motifs used in the otherwise moderne theater are seen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 24, 2010 at 1:03 am

Note that it was John Graham Jr. who designed the Northgate Theatre. His father, John Graham Sr., was also a noted Seattle architect.

rivest266 on January 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

September 28th, 1951 grand opening ad has been posted here.

William on March 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Was walking by Barnes & Noble the other day and was sort of struck by some intense nostalgia thinking about what used to be there. Very fond childhood memories. I just loved the placeā€¦

paulnelson on August 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Northgate Theatre was very stylish. I would call it post art deco moderne. Rings of neon decorated the ceilings of the lobby and theatre itself and most corners were rounded. Many new theatre buildings are boxy and unattractive. This was graceful and unique. It will be missed. Piece of history gone for Seattle. And that very cool huge marquee.

tdickensheets on October 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm

They open on South side of Northgate Mall. Regal Theatre 14

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