AKA: Yesler's Pavilion Theatre, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Pavilion Theater, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - assembly halls; built works - public buildings - courthouses

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1870

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1st Avenue and Cherry Street
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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The Seattle City and King County Directory, 1885 (p. 168), indicated that "Yesler's Hall" (a later name for Yesler's Pavilion,) was located on the southeast corner of Commercial Street (1st Avenue) and Cherry Street.

Building History

Before it had its own courthouse, the Washington Territorial District Court for King County met in the Yesler Pavilion until 1876. From c. 1866-1870, the court had convened in a smaller facility known as "Yesler Hall," which was a multi-purpose building on the lumber mill property of the pioneer Henry L. Yesler (1810-1892).

Building Notes

Pioneer lumber mill owner Henry L. Yesler (1810-1892) erected three multipurpose facilities for general town use at various times; early in Seattle's Euro-American history, the Cook House of Yesler's Sawmill, built in 1855, served as a meeting hall, courthouse, and government center. Yesler's Hall (1866), became the next community meeting venue, and finally, this facility, Yesler's Pavilion, served as a theatre and meeting space after 1870. According to theatre historian Eugene C. Elliott, the Pavilion Theatre was the first performance venue in Seattle to have a stage with a proscenium. Elliott described the Pavilion: "Mr. Yesler fitted his Pavilion with a drop curtain in 1875. The scene painted thereon was of Seattle Bay as viewed from Yesler's Wharf, with the mill and the shipping and the mountains beyond plainly to be seen. Surrounding this picture were numerous advertisements for local concerns inserted into small circles, the whole assuming a 'very neat appearance.'" (See Eugene C. Elliott, A History of Variety-Vaudeville in Seattle, [Seattle: University of Washington Press], 1944, p. 2.) In the early days the Pavilion staged on two or three professional entertainment acts a year. Amateur plays and recitals took the stage during the rest of the time.

Yesler Pavilion was used into the 1880s; it appeared in the Seattle City and King County Directory of 1885 as "Yesler's Hall," as it was popularly known. This can cause confusion with the earlier Yesler Hall


PCAD id: 14289