AKA: Mount Baker Theater, Bellingham, WA; Mt. Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Quist, A.W., Company, Building Contractors (firm); Reamer, Robert C., Architect (firm); Skouras Brothers, Theatre Management Company (firm); Zervas Group Architects (firm); A. W. Quist (building contractor); Robert Chambers Reamer (architect); Charles Peter Skouras (interior designer); George Skouras (interior designer); Spyros Skouras (interior designer); James E. Zervas (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927

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106 North Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA 98225-4408

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The Mount Baker was one of many vaudeville houses operating in Bellingham, WA, during the 1910s-1920s; it opened 04/29/1927. The Fox Theatres chain operated the Mount Baker at one time; live musical performances were held here in the 1930s, and the Mount Baker was one of several small theatres in a regional circuit; Judy Garland, for example, performed on a Pacific Northwest vaudeville circuit that included the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA (02/16-22/1934), Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA (02/24/1934), Empire Theatre, Yakima, WA (02/25/1934), Liberty Theatre, Wenatchee, WA, (02/27/1934), and the Orpheum Theater, Spokane, WA, (03/01/1934). Canadian owners had purchased the theatre in the mid-1980s; in 2007, the City of Bellingham owned the building.

The Mount Baker accommodated 1,509 patrons. (Some sources have reported that the place held 1800.) It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The theatre is a relatively scarce example of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style in the Pacific Northwest; it is distinguished by its tall tower, topped with Spanish tile.

Longtime manager Leroy Kastner (1907-1999) worked to prevent the Skouras Brothers from "modernizing" the Mount Baker Theatre in the late 1940s. (SeeAccessed 12?05/2007.) Its latest restoration ended in 1996. The Bellingham architect James Zervas (1926-2010) was instrumental in saving the theatre from demolition and for renovating it as a community performing arts center.

PCAD id: 4972