AKA: Seattle Theatre #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Seattle Paramount Theater, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Coughlin Porter Lundeen (CPL), Engineers (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Rapp and Rapp, Architects (firm); William James Bain Sr. (architect); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); James Coughlin (engineer); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Terry R. Lundeen (civil engineer); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Steven Porter (engineer); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect); Cornelius W. Rapp (architect); George Leslie Rapp (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927-1928

9 stories

911 Pine Street
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101-1818

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Ninth Avenue and Pine Street;

Building History

The Chicago theatre architects, brothers, George L. Rapp (1878–1942) and Cornelius W. Rapp (d. 1926), designed the Seattle Paramount with the local assistance of B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971) and Frederick J. Peters; this theatre supposedly cost $3 million to construct when it opened on 03/01/1928. According to an advertisement extolling Seattle's construction rate in 1927, however, the Seattle Theatre #2 cost $1,667,000 to erect. (See "Seattle 'the City that is ever Building!'" Seattle Daily Times, 07/09/1928, p. 34.)

Building Notes

The Paramount Theatre possessed the largest Wurlitzer organ constructed up to that time.

Woodbridge and Montgomery, Guide to Architecture in Washington, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980), p. 131, had the construction date as 1929. The Paramount was the largest theatre in Seattle of its time, holding 3,049; the Orpheum #2 was also large, seating about 2,700. Rapp and Rapp produced approximately 400 theatres, most concentrated in the Midwest, but they also became connected with chains, such as Paramount, that commissioned designs outside that region.


In 1956, the Paramount re-opened as a Cinerama Theatre, a new projection technique utilizing multiple projectors and a huge screen. This novelty did not last long here, but another, dedicated Cinerama Theatre opened on 4th Avenue in 1963. Threatened by demolition, the Paramount was fully renovated in the 1980s; it has hosted numerous live performances and films since that time.

Over the years, this movie palace has managed to avert a handful of demolition attempts. Historians Eric L. Flom and John Caldbick noted in their HistoryLink.org article on the theatre: "Its most serious near-death experience came in 1992, when it was saved from destruction by the vision and generosity of Ida Cole (b. 1947), one of the region's legion of "Microsoft millionaires." Some three years and $37 million later, the Paramount reopened in March 1995 in all its former glory and with many modern updates." (See Eric L. Flom and John Caldbick, HistoryLink.org, "Paramount Theatre (Seattle)," published 05/11/2012, accessed 06/12/2019.) Seattle's largest architectural firm, NBBJ, managed a restoration of the Paramount Theatre in 1993-1995. William J. Bain, Jr., was involved in this renovation project., that reopened the building in 03/1995. (See NBBJ.com, "People: We cultivate a practice of leaders: a collaboration among optimistic, empowered experts," accessed 06/12/2019.)

PCAD id: 4262