Capitol Theater

206 5th Avenue E,
Olympia, WA 98501

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Showing 1 - 25 of 41 comments

KenLayton on August 22, 2021 at 6:36 pm

Ownership timelines:

1924 - 1977 Zabel Theatre Company (Ed Zabel, Hobe Zabel, and Art Zabel).

1977 - 1982 Crow-Woodbridge Enterprises (Andy Crow and Marshall Woodbridge).

1982 Theater leased to Gary Fine for one year.

1983 - 1985 Theater leased to Tom Moyer’s Luxury Theatres of Portland, Oregon (Tom Moyer, senior).

1985 - 1990 Theater is co-owned by Tom Moyer, junior and Andy Crow.

1990 - 2010 Theater leased to Olympia Film Society.

2010 Olympia Film Society buys the theater from Andy Crow.

KenLayton on August 22, 2021 at 6:01 pm

A new canopy is being built over the sidewalk in front of the theater. A new framework and drainage is being erected right now. This new canopy will match as closely as possible, the original 1924 canopy.

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm

February 25 to March 6, 1937 the theater was closed for repairs/remodeling due to a previous small fire in mid February 1937. Then came the big fire of April 24, 1937.

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 12:36 am

Boxoffice magazine did a story about the April 24, 1937 fire. It is on this page:

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

The theater got remodeled again in 1948. Theater reopened on Friday May 7, 1948. Installed were Gulistan carpets and draperies along with Heywood-Wakefield seats.

KenLayton on August 8, 2011 at 12:17 am


Theater opens Tuesday October 7, 1924.

Theater remodeled March 1937.

Major fire damages theater. Balcony, mezzanine, and projection booth destroyed. Roof and ceiling damaged. Fire alarm turned in at 9:28 A.M. of Saturday April 24, 1937. Cause of fire determined to be spontaneous combustion of a single reel of nitrate 35mm film that had just been delivered the night before and was temporarily in the janitor’s closet in the mezzanine awaiting to be taken to the projection booth. Theater will be closed for several months to repair the damage.

Theater reopens after repairing the fire damage on Wednesday August 25, 1937. A brand new Western Electric “Mirrophonic” sound system was installed along with hearing assistance headphones available in selected seats.

KenLayton on September 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

The Capitol Theater has been sold to the Olympia Film Society.

View link

TLSLOEWS on February 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Nice shot of the new vertical,looks very much like the old one in the shots.

pkings on November 20, 2008 at 1:58 am

Hi, I’m very pleased to have found this thread. I’m really enthused about the theatre. I’ve been an OFS volunteer for about 4 years, and a projectionist at the Capital Theatre for about the last two years. I have a picture of myself and some friends here in front of the new marquee at its unveiling at opening night of the recent 25th annual Olympia Film Festival. Lets see if this works..

View link

kencmcintyre on November 14, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Interesting. Thanks.

kencmcintyre on November 13, 2008 at 2:25 pm

That’s too bad. Missed it by a couple of days.

kencmcintyre on November 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm

I know that. I was just there, so I was curious about the exact date.

kencmcintyre on November 13, 2008 at 2:15 pm

When did they put that up?

KenLayton on November 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm

The theater now has a brand new marquee! I would have never believed it would happen with our city sign ordinances being so restrictive.

NativeForestHiller on February 3, 2008 at 10:09 pm

I am a preservationist and theater buff from the Big Apple, and I am happy that I came across this thread. I consider the removal of the 40s era marquee bittersweet as well. I take pride that the Greek-inspired stained glass has once again been revealed for all to appreciate, but why does the marquee have to be demolished? It can be donated “as is” to the American Sign Museum:
Can someone please convince the owner to donate it (in exchange for a tax write-off) and spare it from demolition?

This is a more direct link for the latest article:

Please keep me posted. Thanks!

kateymac01 on January 29, 2008 at 6:43 pm

It sounds like the vertical sign is something the Oly Film Society wants to work on. And if they can get some historic preservation folks behind ‘em, that would help their cause. No matter what, though, the name of the theater is etched into the building’s facade, and now we get to see those gorgeous old stained glass windows. I’d love this to be the start of people rallying around this theater and giving it some love.

KenLayton on January 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm

City of Olympia sign ordinances are very restrictive. I’d be very surprised if a vertical sign was allowed.

kateymac01 on January 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Ken, I like the photos of the Capitol you posted. I see that some of your pix are from the State Theater, too. Love that old box office at the State.

kateymac01 on January 29, 2008 at 1:48 pm

The marquee of this theater is coming down. Demolition started yesterday (1/28). The good news is that removing the marquee revealed gorgeous stained glass windows. They depict four of the nine muses of Greek mythology.

The marquee being removed has been on the building since 1940, although it hasn’t lit up since the early 1990s. There’s talk of adding a marquee that mimics the 1924 original, which was a vertical sign.

There are photos of the demolition and a story at

kencmcintyre on December 24, 2007 at 6:08 pm

I took a walk around the building today. There’s a huge graffiti-style mural on the back wall. I couldn’t tell if this was sponsored or just vandalism.

kencmcintyre on October 22, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Here are some recent views of the marquee when it was part of a public art project: