Cordova Theatre

135 N. Grand Avenue,
Pullman, WA 99163

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Cordova Theatre, Pullman, WA in 1929

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Spanish Colonial style Cordova Theatre opened in 1928 at a cost of $100,000. Interior decorations were by artist Carl R. Berg. Through the years it had many different owners and operators and had been closed for a few years before being opened again in 2000 by Best Theatres who did a thorough redecoration and a reupholstering of its 500 seats along with the addition of a digital sound system.

It has a modern marquee and facade but the interior, including its box office, is close to its original appearance. Best Theatres also operate the local Audian and Village Centre Theatres. It seems the Cordova Theatre has closed for movies in 2011.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2010 at 7:53 am

Carl R. Berg, currently listed as the architect of the Cordova Theatre, was a Seattle artist and decorator who worked with the National Theatre Supply Company. He designed the decorations for the Cordova.

The Cordova Theatre was actually designed by the Spokane architectural firm Whitehouse & Price, who also designed the Wilma Theater in Wallace, Idaho. The firm also worked with Seattle architect Robert Reamer on the Fox Theatre in Spokane.

A PDF file (4.9MB) of the NRHP registration form for the Cordova Theatre includes a fairly detailed history and description of the theater, along with floor plans and several photos, including depictions of the original entrance and facade, prior to the 1950 remodeling.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Noticed the one sheet covering up the 8 by 10 still frames.Love to have them!Great picture.

boblynn55
boblynn55 on December 27, 2011 at 1:20 am

Carl R. Berg was my great grandfather. He was also the interior designer artistic director on the 5th Ave Theatre, the Davenport Hotel, The blue Mouse, Seattle Fredericks and Nelsens, I.Magin and many other establishments. My mother has a mirror that was the proto-type for the mirrors made in the Elizabethian Rooms at the Davenport. Grandpa Berg was a great historian and used historical information to design his interiors, Peking Throne Room was used for many aspects of the 5th Ave. My siblings and I used to sit on next to his wheelchair as he illustrated stories he would tell us about the early days in Colorado Springs. He lived there between the late 1880s to around 1908. He painted sets for the theatre there and personally knew characters like bat masterson and so on. He died at 98, still painting and teaching painting to other nursing home residents despite being blind. He was amazing.

ccrowley
ccrowley on December 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I own a painting by the late Carl R. Berg that I purchased at auction in Seattle. It is lovely, of a vase of delphiniums. It appears that it was painted as a gift to Mr and Mrs Tom Shearer. It is wonderful to have this information about him.

boblynn55
boblynn55 on July 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Carl R. Berg was my great grandpa, he painted many of these paintings of flowers from my great grandma’s garden. I Have one of them done in 1929. I’d love to see yours. Mr. Shearer was the owner, i believe of the W. B. Shearer owned the theater interior design company he worked for for years. Beverly L. Adams-Gordon

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

B. F. Shearer Studios was associated with the National Theatre Supply Company at least through 1927. The January 1, 1928, issue of The Film Daily said that Ben Shearer, A. M. Larsen and Frank Harris were reportedly leaving NTS and that Shearer intended to form his own company in association with Larsen and Harris. Apparently a number of other former NTS employees went with them.

B. F. Shearer & Co. soon had branch offices in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other western cities. In 1931, the company supplied all the custom-designed carpets and draperies for the Los Angeles Theatre. B. F. Shearer & Co. operated until about 1972.

In addition to the theater supply business, the Shearer family eventually operated a small chain of about a dozen theaters from California to Alaska.

GKramer
GKramer on July 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Berg also designed the interiors of the Holly Theatre, in Medford, Oregon and the Egyptian Theatre, in Coos Bay, Oregon. Both share at least one element and I’m curious if it is found at the Cordova as well. Here is my blog post on the subject.

http://thepreserveoregonblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/carl-r-berg-tile-of-two-theatres.html

GKramer
GKramer on July 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

Incidentally, from the little of the exterior of the Cordova that I can see in the photos, it appears to have been very similar in design to a theatre in Yreka, California, also with interiors by Mr. Berg.

paulnelson
paulnelson on November 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm

That huge marquee sort of hurt the great facade of the original theatre. The great window is blocked. Hope it is removed. Also the original poster windows should be put back.

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