Lewis and Clark Theatre

15820 Pacific Highway S,
Tukwila, WA 98188

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Showing 1 - 25 of 51 comments

Seattleprojectionist on December 24, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Someone has posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWmCwcbcQmA a Washington State Department of Transportation video of a drive on Highway 99 shot on June 7th of 1983. The massive free standing marquis of the Lewis and Clark comes into view at 23:24. This was shot soon after the addition with 4 new screens was added to the original 3 screen and bowling alley complex.

seraphina on January 2, 2021 at 7:31 pm

Yes, mom worked at Boeing as a secretary. I will tell her hello from you! Dad did have a lot of artistic talent too, and left many memories. Flora told me that she worked for the SRO theater several years in the office in Bellevue (after the theater). It’s really nice to exchange these memories with you!

Cathe on December 30, 2020 at 7:51 pm

Yes, I remember your Dad very well and you kids, too, since I babysat for at least a year for you guys. When I turned 16, your Dad offered me a job at Lewis and Clark, so, someone else babysat you guys after that. I remember your house was decorated so nice with a baby grand. Allet was just a baby. I was sorry to hear when your Dad passed. He had a lot of potential. Flora might remember me, or at least Julie. I saw Flora at a party my sister had when my children were little. Say hello to your Mom for me, I think she worked for Boeing? (Cathy Rulo) ♥

seraphina on December 30, 2020 at 10:29 am

Cathe, Yes - I at least remember Julie living across the street! It was such a magical place to work at, and the jobs that we did at Lewis & Clark. I worked for a little over two years there in my teen years. Yes, our mom is still alive! She is in California living with my brother, Allet. Dad had a lot going for him, up to the end when he passed away.

mikeb99, Yes - Flora is my sister. Both of us had such a wonderful time working at the Theater. I think I do remember Laura, not positive though. So many memories there!

davidcoppock on December 24, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Oh, was the bowling alley, bowled over at the same time as the auditorium then?

Seattleprojectionist on December 24, 2020 at 1:30 pm

Only the lobby section remains, auditorium and the bowling alley both demolished.

davidcoppock on December 23, 2020 at 6:32 pm

Is the bowling alley still there? Is there anything on the former auditoriom site now?

Cathe on December 21, 2020 at 3:22 pm

I worked at Lewis and Clark Theater from about 1963 to 1967 (high school and college). I used to babysit for you, Seraphina, Flora and your little brother (who was still in diapers). Not sure if you’d remember or not, but, my sister, Julie (Rulo) was a friend of Flora’s. I really enjoyed working at the theater and really appreciated your Dad giving me a job. I worked most of the time in the Box Office, out in the middle of the concourse. Is your Mom still around? She was a sweet lady, as I remember her.

mikeb99 on December 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm

@seraphina: Any relation to Flora who worked there in the mid-70’s when I was there? I remember her well along with the twins Laura and Lana? And much of the rest of the gang too. Yes, it was a great place for a HS kid to work back then.

seraphina on October 31, 2020 at 11:02 am

My dad, Allet Pippenger, was the Manager of the Lewis & Clark Theater during the 50/60’s (and also helped paint the murals inside), and then went on to the Music Box in Seattle. I believe he also worked at the Northgate Theater in the beginning. We use to go to work with him on some days, and would keep busy while he was getting the day at work ready. Our family were friends with Bob & Claudia Bond (former manager). Those were the days - wow!

I’m sad that the building was torn down and wish it had somehow been kept as the original auditorium, with the balcony upstairs, etc. The horse’s head at the top of the runway was very cool. We would roll down the ramps, ride a prize bike before the owner won it, hear about how the Seattle Symphony came out to play, but as time went by a lot of changes were made before it was destroyed.

Those were the hay-days! My sister and I worked there for about two years in the ‘70’s as “popcorn makers”, and sold tickets in that tiny box office. Tickets were cheap! You can’t imagine how it was with lots of customers standing in line for snacks and tickets, etc. Our father died in 1970, but the former management knew us and hired us at the time because of him. So many movies played that I couldn’t even begin to start. It was a great day back then!

mikeb99 on March 19, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Sad what happened to this once great movie theatre. I have a lot of memories from this place. I worked here from 10th grade through my first year of college from 72' to 76'. I did almost every job you can imagine here and some you probably can’t. I started cleaning the gardens and eventually wound up as the head doorman/usher. As a HS Senior I had my own key to the place and often had to be the first one there in the afternoon to put away all the concession deliveries, turn on lights, check for burned out lights, etc. In 72'/73' during the gas shortages the place became a magnet for gas thieves and they put me on the roof with binoculars and a walkie talkie on Fri & Sat nights to help the security team watch the huge parking lots… with my help they caught about half-a-dozen gas thieves and a couple of car prowlers that summer. I worked on the night crew cleaning the theatre after the last show ended around 1am. That was a HUGE job on big movie nights when the place was sold out. The auditorium was so huge we used to play frisbee in there on the night shift lunch break. I kicked my share of kids/trouble makers out of there too… people didn’t realize it, but the screen was not solid… it had tiny little holes in it, and there was a back route to it so you could stand behind it and see out into the audience.. made for great fun! I saw all the great movies of the 70’s here DOZENS of times… many of them would sell out the 3,000 seat place on the weekends. Blazing Saddles, What’s Up Doc?, The Exorcist (lots of people couldn’t handle it and walked out), Sound of Music, 2001 Space Odyssey, Marathon Man, Clockwork Orange, Smokey and the Bandit, Harry In Your Pocket, Billy Jack, too many to remember. Ultimately, the place almost killed me… literally. I was on the crew working to change the front sign one night in July 73' and the title was really long – “Reader’s Digest Presents The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer And Huckleberry Finn”… and I lost track of where I was and walked right off the end of the cat walk and fell 15 feet on to my head on the pavement below. I got 50 stitches and 5 fractured vertebra in my neck from that adventure!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm

I don’t think they got any closer than the mouth of the Columbia River.

davidcoppock on November 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Did Lewis and Clark visit this area?

Seattleprojectionist on November 12, 2018 at 9:19 am

The site remains as the parking lot, office, and service facility for a rental car company. Only the original 1950’s auditorium was demolished. The original lobby and the 1980’s addition have been remodeled and remain in use by the rental car company.

davidcoppock on November 10, 2018 at 10:29 am

The site is possibly still vacant?

davidcoppock on November 10, 2018 at 10:19 am

Opened on 20/11/1956 with “War and peace”.

bubbabear64 on March 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

An elegant movie theater built at a time when Sterling made grand theaters in the suburbs to replace the declining use of city theaters as well as smaller neighborhood theaters due to the increase of television use. Not only did the theater provide swinging seats, but the balcony had a reserved section in the first few rows used for people that came in late to the movie so that they didn’t cause that much of a distraction (even though the area was supervised by ushers and swinging gates. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the first movie I saw in the theater. I still remember the original glass enclosed box office. It went away when the 1982 remodel was finished.

The bowling alley was just as elegant as the movie theater was. It was built in 1960 and it used the white Brunswick design with the dual lane configuration that was known for it’s artistic design for the time as demonstrated in this You Tube video: http://youtu.be/53V5S5Bd2KA. It wasn’t upgraded to the 2000 automatic scoring system until the 1980s. They still kept the same design to the lanes (they didn’t switch to the current style or the color organ version). During the 1990s, the lanes were shut down. It was done about the same time that SRO took over Sports World Bowling Alley in Federal Way to keep it running as a recreation center (it had about the same number of lanes as well as a bar, racquetball, and a dance floor built in 1977).

By the time the 1970s came, many factors didn’t work in the theaters favor including: Expansion of SR518 (an additional theater sign was added off of the freeway since the large sign wasn’t visible anymore), additional multiplex theaters in Tukwila and Renton (including the original single screen, Southcenter Theater SRO owned), elimination of neighborhoods in the immediate area (due to aircraft noise and expansion of the airport), and prostitution/drug activity (even though the WSP had a field office on the corner).

During the 1980s, the crime continued. With Gary Ridgeway driving his truck in this strip of 99 couldn’t have been favorable to business. By the 1990s, violence happened in the parking lot after a few movie openings scheduled on the site along with cars being broken into, didn’t make the place a very safe environment to take the family to the movies or bowling anymore. The last movie I saw in the theater was Star Trek 6 on opening night (12/7/91).

With the addition to the Sound Transit light rail terminal in Tukwila, this theater would have been in a bad location and with it’s outdated design, it couldn’t have competed with other multiplex theaters around the Tukwila/Renton area effectively. Now that AMC owns the theater chain, their interest has been keeping movie theaters running in malls and shopping centers which they have a major presence of in the area.

It’s nice to see that the property has been integrated into airport use to prevent the car rental companies from typing up the second floor of the airport parking garage.

I wish I had some photos of the bowling alley when I was learning to bowl in there. They don’t build them like that anymore.

Parillamilt on August 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm

This complex was a monster. Saw 2001 and Patton here when it was just a single theater. The bowling alley was huge.

rivest266 on January 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

Grand opening ads from November 20th, 1956 and December 16th, 1982 (as 7-plex) posted in the photo section.

ColinMarcoe on June 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Oops, I meant “What great photos from CinemaTOUR”!

ColinMarcoe on June 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm

What GREAT photos from cinematreasures!! I had almost forgotten what that main auditorium and those murals looked like! It was huge! I actually saw my first R-rated movie there, “Blazing Saddles” in the mid-70’s. And for a period in the late 70’s they ran “Rocky Horror” at midnight on Fridays & Sats in Auditorum 3.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2010 at 12:57 am

Here are the additional photos of the Lewis and Clark in Boxoffice, October 19, 1957. LThe project’s ead architect, John Graham Jr., also designed the Northgate Theatre in Seattle for the Sterling circuit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

A pre-renovation photo of the auditorium of the Lewis And Clark Theatre can be seen on this page of Boxoffice, June 8, 1957 (upper right corner.)

markinthedark on July 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Moviefone still lists the theatre? Its been closed for a while…

ajsloan on July 6, 2009 at 5:08 am

Matt, Do you remember Greg? It would have been around 1986.