Colonial Theatre

1515 4th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98101

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Sterling Theaters, Inc.

Styles: Colonial Revival

Nearby Theaters

COLONIAL Theatre; Seattle, Washington.

The Colonial Theatre opened in 1913 in what is now the heart of downtown Seattle. It had a Kimball 3 manual 27 R=ranks organ. “The Tiger Lily” starring Julia Swayne Gordon was shown on opening night.

Seattle theatre king John Danz bought the Colonial Theatre in 1917 or 1918. A new Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 ranks organ was added around that time.

As far as I can find, this theatre thrived until the early-1970’s.

Contributed by Katie Mac

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kateymac01 on February 23, 2006 at 11:48 am

The ad shown at this link — View link — says the theater had “1,000 seats all on one floor” when it opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 23, 2006 at 4:22 pm

According to a photo caption on this page, the classical Greek Revival facade of the Colonial Theatre was still intact as late as 1981. By 2001, the location was occupied by a Borders book store. The caption does not say whether the building was replaced or merely remodeled.

droben on January 4, 2007 at 7:49 pm

The Colonial was actually open into the late 1960’s or early 70’s. I don’t have an exact date of closure, but I would have been about 11 or 12 at the time and I remember seeing the theater listed in the Sterling Theaters ad.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 24, 2008 at 3:13 pm

“Arrowsmith” with Ronald Coleman and Helen Hayes was released in the U.S. on December 26, 1931. ;p

Dav1dJeffers on October 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Bill White’s Cinema Penitentiary: Tales from a middle-aged movie house and a critic cuts his teeth…

LouRugani on July 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

THEATER BOMBING BAFFLES SEATTLE Police Investigate Mysterious Blast Which Rocks City’s Business Area. (May 12, 1928) — (A.P.)— A theater bombing which left as clue only a sheet iron stage door riddled with scrap iron slugs and the conflicting stories of a half dozen witnesses turned into a mystery today to police who were investigating. The bomb, manufactured with a motion picture film can and dynamite and loaded with rusty scrap iron, exploded in the alley between the Colonial and Capitol theaters here last night while both show houses were filled. It was the sixth theater bombing here since the first of the year. The detonation, which shattered windows in the alley and rocked the business district, alarmed theatre visitors and crowds in adjacent streets and caused a near panic in the audience of the Colonial theater. This house was the apparent object of the bombers. The only arrest made since the inception of the bombing campaign, was that of Thomas J. Woodhouse, a former amateur boxing champion who was taken April 23, charged with the bombing of the Embassy theater and released in $4,000 bail. Labor disputes were given by the police and owners of the theaters as reasons for the bombings.

Seattleprojectionist on September 23, 2017 at 9:36 am

Link to color night time shot of the Colonial. Vertical neon of the Orpheum Theater can be seen at the far right:

The film “Forever Amber” was released in 1947. It looks like the admission price was 50 cents at the Colonial.

DavidZornig on January 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm

I added the color night time shot to the Photos section, in case the link goes dead.
The second film on the marquee “Sword Of The Avenger” was released in June `48.

DavidZornig on March 18, 2018 at 7:43 pm

Full size January 30, 1948 photo added courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, item 41057. Via the Vintage Seattle Facebook page.

Jobla on August 27, 2022 at 2:55 pm

In the late 1960s, the theater was showing triple bills, which changed three times per week. It was one of the few smaller downtown theaters that never went porno.

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