Renton Civic Theatre
507 S. 3rd Street,
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Renton Civic Theatre (Official)
Functions: Community Arts Center
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Renton Theatre
News About This Theater
- Apr 28, 2012 — Renton Civic Theatre seeks historic photos for anniversary
Opened in the 1920’s, this is a small boxy theatre with an offset marquee on the right. The upper story is beige plaster, the bottom is flesh toned tile. The marquee is a simple V with ‘RENTON’ on both sides above the attraction board. The middle says ‘THIRD’ in neon, with ‘Street’ in tiny script. It seems to be the quarters of the Renton Civic Theatre, and is in pretty shabby shape.
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Recent comments (view all 3 comments)
This theater was originally the Rainier Theater. It sat across the street from the Roxy. My Internet research tells me that the Roxy was the more elegant theater. However, the Rainier featured large screens set on large stages, and the walls of the auditorium were lavishly sculpted with ornate woodwork and heavy tapestries (www.burgesslegacy.org/rtn.htm).
Here is a fabulous old photo: www.burgesslegacy.org/rtngfx/637.jpg
The Rainier was a block up, on the same side of 3rd as the Renton. It was demolished in the 60s after taking earthquake damage. The Renton had an Art Moderne style with hints at Chinese in the auditorium which, while not in great shape, still retains Chinese-style side wall decoration, interesting light fixtures that curve around wall and ceiling, and the original ceiling stencilling. The lobby also retains some nice streamline curves and a nice staircase, and the entrance doors' 1930s paint job has been restored. The marquee got a recent neon job.
The Roxy was renovated into a church, but could easily be restored as a theatre. The Renton Historical Museum retains the peacock’s tail neon from atop the sign, which has been restored and is on display along with a replica of the sign itself. A Roxy display is planned which will include replicas of marquee and ticket booth, the ticket machine, lighting fixtures (including the auditorium “Starlites”) exit signs, and the telephone from the projection booth, as well as the twelve-cam mechanical flasher that once animated the peacock’s tail.
The address on this is 507 South 3rd Street, 98057 and the current seating capacity is around 300. This theatre opened some time in the 1920’s and was part of a Supreme Court case, RENTON v. PLAYTIME THEATRES, INC., (1986).