AKA: Orpheum Theatre #6, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Moore Egyptian Theatre, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Houghton, Edwin W., Architect (firm); Moore Investment Company (firm); Edwin Walker Houghton (architect); James A. Moore (developer)

Dates: constructed 1907

7 stories, total floor area: 122,810 sq. ft.

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1932 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101-1102

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Seattle, WA Tax Parcel Number: 197720-1035; Legal Description Lots 1,4,5, Blk. 46, Denny's 6th Add. Also noted as 1926 2nd Avenue.

Building History

Seattle architect Edwin Houghton (1856-1927) designed the theatre and hotel for the hotelier James A. Moore (1861-1929), a real estate developer in Seattle, WA, who owned the Washington Hotel that, before the regrades, stood atop Denny Hill; he built the Moore Hotel, Moore Theatre, Alexandria Hotel, the New Washington Hotel, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building at 4th Avenue and Union Street. A Seattle Times notice in 1907 indicated: "The Moore Investment Company was last week granted a permit covering the entire construction of the Moore Theatre at 1914-1924 Second Avenue. The permit calls for the steel frame of a 6-story theatre building, together with the interior walls, partitions, etc., of the same, and the plans contemplate a cost of $175,000. Warren H. Milnor is the superintendent of construction and the architect is E.W. Houghton." (See "Coming Month Will See Many Big Transfers of Realty," Seattle Times, 08/04/1907, p. 27.) Use of steel framing was becoming increasingly popular for tall buildings after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on the West Coast.

Located on the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Virginia Street, the Moore Theatre opened 12/28/1907, with a performance of "The Alaskan," a comic opera; Moore built this hotel in preparation for the tourist surge that would visit Seattle during the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) planned for 1907 but was delayed until 1909. While these figures were often inflated for publicity, Moore may have spent $350,000 on the building, and over $500,000 for the land and the building. (See Eric L. Flom, "Moore Theatre (Seattle)," Historylink Essay #3852, 06/20/2002,Accessed 07/28/2011.) In 1917 or 1918 until 1920, Polk's Seattle City Directory listed two Orpheum Theatres in the city; one (the Orpheum Theatre #5 of 1911) was located at 919 3rd Avenue, but the Moore was also called the "Orpheum Theatre." Between 1885-1927, the name "Orpheum" was applied to seven different theatrical venues in Seattle, the former Moore being the sixth location. The seventh was located at 506 Stewart Street.

On 11/18/1910, Seattle had the following nine theatres active: Orpheum (showing "advanced vaudeville"), Majestic (vaudeville), Alhambra (showing the theatrical production "Jack Sheppard,"), Lois (showing "The Power of Money), Pantages (vaudeville), Star (musical comedy), Moore (showing "The Kissing Girl"), Grand, (showing "The Volunteer Organist,") and Seattle (showing "The Man on the Box,"). (See "In the Theatres," Seattle Daily Times, 11/18/1910, p. 6.)

The Walker Brothers managed the Moore Hotel in 1930. At this time, it advertised containing 200 rooms. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1930, p. 1856.)

During the early 1950s, the theater has been leased to an evangelist, Rev. Ralph Joseph Sander, Sr., (born 10/27/1899 in Seattle, WA-d. 04/18/1958 in MT) better known as "Brother Ralph." Sander and his son, Ralph Jr., (born 05/13/1933 in Seattle, WA-d. 11/2006 in Seattle, WA) operated their Seattle Revival Center in the Moore. In late 1953, Hugh N. Becket, Sr., (d. 1986 in CA), owner of the Metropolitan Theater Production Company, Incorporated, moved his operations to the Moore from the Metropolitan Theatre which was set to be torn down to expand the Olympic Hotel. An article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of 11/13/1953 reported: “Hugh N. Becket, who has been operating the Metropolitan Theater, announced Thursday that he had acquired the Moore Theater on lease in the name of the Metropolitan Theater Production Co., Inc., of which he is president and owner. The lease on the Moore, of 10 years’ duration with a 10-year option, will start May 1, 1955. The theater is presently being leased to ‘Brother Ralph’ for religious purposes. Becket’s lease on the Metropolitan will expire on November 1, 1954, at which time, under an arrangement entered into by the Olympic Hotel with the University of Washington Board of Regents, the hotel will acquire the theater property. The hotel expects to raze the theater to provide for a new main entrance to the hotel. The Moore was built in 1907 and for years accommodated vaudeville. Becket said he understood the house seats 1,500 persons on the first two floors (orchestra and balcony) as compared with the Metropolitan which seats only 1,037 on the first two floors. Total seating at the Metropolitan, including the gallery, is 1,439, Becket said. ‘I am told that with the gallery at the Moore, the Moore will seat more than 1,600 persons,’ Becket said. “Becket said he was pleased with the Moore’s stage which is larger than that of the Metropolitan and ‘has the switchboard on the left side of the stage, looking toward the stage. Our switchboard at the Metropolitan has been on the wrong side for best, operational use.’ Becket said he plans to redecorate the Moore when he acquires it ‘but it is too early to announce plans; we’ve got to get costs first.’” (See "Theater Plans: Hugh Becket Gets Lease on Moore,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/13/1953, p. 8.)

Building Notes

The Moore Hotel had a 24-hour coffee shoppe and a swimming pool in 1930. Rooms without bath cost $1.50 and up, while rooms with a bath cost $2.00 and up. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1930, p. 1856.)

The Moore Theatre continued to host rock concerts into the 21st-century, in part due to its fine acoustics; the Moore Theatre seated 2,436 people when it opened. (Theatre historian David Naylor, in his American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, [New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981, p. 216], said that the Moore seated 2,200; Cinema Treasures.org noted the auditorium's capacity to be 1,419.)

The entire Moore Hotel/Theatre Building occupied a 23,220-square-foot (0.53 acre) site, and contained 122,810 square feet. It had an assessed value of $6,891,300 in 2010. The Moore Building also contained a natatorium at 1926 2nd Avenue. A sign visible in an Asahel Curtis photograph of the Moore facade noted that the hotel offered "Turkish baths for ladies and gentlemen" and was open twenty-four hours a day.