Pacific Northwest | July 13, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineJuly 13, 2003seattletimes.com home
Home delivery
Search archive
Contact us
CONTENTS
COVER STORY
PLANT LIFE
NOW & THEN
SUNDAY PUNCH
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY PAUL DORPAT Outdoor Living 2003

Celluloid Garden
Photo
COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF HISTORY & INDUSTRY
In 1979, the 59-year-old Winter Garden theater on the west side of Third Avenue mid-block between Pike and Pine streets was closed and remodeled for a Lerner's store. A downtown branch of Aaron Brothers, an art-supply chain, is the most recent proprietor.

 
 Photo
PAUL DORPAT
IN THE SUMMER of 1920 one of the last remaining pioneer homes on Third Avenue was razed for construction of the Winter Garden. This mid-sized theater of 749 cushioned seats was made exclusively for movies — not vaudeville.

The Winter Garden opened early in December, taking its name from a famous New York City theater, the successor of which staged the 18-year Broadway run of "Cats."

The proprietor of Seattle's Winter Garden, James Q. Clemmer, was the city's first big purveyor of motion pictures. He got his start in 1907 with the Dream Theater where he mixed one-reelers with stage acts. Eventually, he either owned or managed many if not most of the big motion-picture theaters downtown.

Except for a few weeks in 1973 when the IRS closed it for nonpayment of payroll taxes, the Winter Garden stayed open at 1515 Third Ave. until 1979. In the end it was known simply as the Garden, a home for X-rated films where the house lights were never turned up. Here it is in 1932 showing a remake of a 1919 silent film, "The Miracle Man."

In the late 1950s, when television cut into theater attendance, many of the downtown theaters, the Garden included, played B-movies in double and triple features. In 1962, an 11-year-old Bill White would walk downtown from his home on Queen Anne Hill and spend the quarter his mother gave him for bus fair to watch movies in what he describes as "the dark comfort" of the Embassy, the Colonial and the Garden. White, whose mom thought he was at the YMCA, grew up to be an expert on films and a movie reviewer.

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

  PACIFIC NORTHWEST
 MAGAZINE SEARCH
Today Archive

Advanced search

 
advertising

seattletimes.com home
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company

Copyright

Back to topBack to top