Demolition of Seattle's Orpheum Theatre begins on August 6, 1967.

  • By Eric L. Flom
  • Posted 10/03/2003
  • Essay 4249
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On August 6, 1967, demolition begins on the Orpheum Theatre at 5th Avenue and Stewart Street in downtown Seattle. The venue, originally built in 1927 as a vaudeville and motion picture house, was designed by renowned theater architect (and Seattle resident) B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971).

The task proved quite an undertaking for Iversen Construction Co., which had been awarded the project. Although 40 years old, the structure contained steel-reinforced walls that held up particularly well against the demolition techniques of the late 1960s. It took Iversen nearly six weeks to clear away the surface structure (the stage area being one of the last things to go), with at least another four weeks required to pull up the basements and concrete footings, some of which extended 25 feet underground.

Once the demolition work on the Orpheum was completed, construction began on the site’s new occupant, the Washington Plaza Hotel. Today (in 2003), the Washington Plaza is known as the Westin Hotel.


“Onstage -- ‘The Death of a Theater,’” The Seattle Times, August 29, 1967, p. 1; James R. Warren, “Theater Built in 1927 Defied Wrecking Ball,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 28, 1982, p. C-7.

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