Seattle's Venetian Theater on Capitol Hill closes on December 31, 1958.

  • By Eric L. Flom
  • Posted 7/10/2005
  • Essay 7351
On December 31, 1958, the Venetian Theater -- located at the corner of E Pine Street and 15th Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood -- closes to the public with little fanfare. The last evening’s bill is a double feature, with In Love and War beginning at 7:30 p.m., followed by This Big Country at 9:30 p.m.

Originally opened on November 18, 1926, the Venetian was hailed at that time as the city’s finest “suburban” movie theater. The venue sat more than 800 patrons and represented an investment of nearly $150,000.

Although the house was apparently built by an investor from outside the Northwest, the Venetian came under local ownership within three months of its opening when the exhibition firm of Jensen and von Herberg snatched it up as part of an aggressive expansion plan. At the time, the firm owned the Ballard and the Majestic theaters in Ballard, and was preparing to open a third house in the same neighborhood, the Bagdhad. The Baghdad Theater would debut to the public on May 27, 1927.

In the late 1940s, local exhibitor John Hamrick (1876-1956) purchased the Venetian and his firm continued to operate it until its last performance. Never a big money maker, the venue was eventually sold to make way for a Foodland supermarket. It was torn down in July 1959.

Sources: Advertisement for Venetian Theater, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 31, 1958, p. 6; “Venetian Theater, Symbol of Past, Being Torn Down,” Seattle Times, July 15, 1959, p. 2.

Related Topics:   Buildings | Film

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