United Artists Theatre

1520 1st Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98101

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Additional Info

Architects: Henderson Ryan

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Previous Names: Liberty Theatre, United Artists Theatre, Coliseum Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Liberty Theatre exterior

The Liberty Theatre opened in October 1914 and at some point was renamed United Artists Theatre. It was renamed Liberty Theatre in August 1927. Later known as the Coliseum Theatre, it was last known as the United Artists Theatre. The theatre lasted until 1955. It has since been razed.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

William on November 18, 2003 at 11:14 pm

The Liberty Theatre seated 1600 people.

kateymac01 on May 21, 2005 at 11:08 am

The Liberty Theatre was built in 1914 by C.S. Jensen and John G. von Herberg; it had a capacity of 1,700.

kencmcintyre on February 26, 2008 at 12:52 am

Here is a blog dated 2/17/08 with some then and now photos:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 20, 2009 at 7:02 am

The Liberty Theatre was designed by architect Henderson Ryan, with engineer Henry W. Bittman. Scans of plans, drawings, and cross sections of the Liberty can be seen at the University of Washington Library’s Digital Collections. Use the search term Liberty Theatre.

The size and elaborate decoration of the Liberty, with the fact that it was designed specifically for the exhibition of movies, having neither a fly loft nor an orchestra pit, made it one of the very first theaters that could truly be called a movie palace.

Architect Henderson Ryan also designed the Neptune Theatre in Seattle and the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis, Oregon.

Stairstars on January 16, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Does anyone know if the Savoy Theater was on this site before the Liberty was built? I have an old pin back button that states the Savoy Theater was at 1ST and PIKE and makes a negative comment about the Patents Trust. The Savoy Hotel was at 2nd and Pike.



Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Engineer Henry Bittman, who collaborated with Henderson Ryan on the Liberty Theatre project in 1914, was licensed as an architect in 1923 and went on to design at least three Seattle theatres himself; The Embassy Theatre of 1926, the Music Box Theatre of 1928, and the Town Theatre (aka Roosevelt) of 1933. The Embassy is the only one of these three still standing.

rivest266 on January 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Should be AKA United Artists

Grand opening ads from October 27th, 1914, January 14th, 1927 as United Artists and from January 2nd, 1930 as Liberty posted in the photo section.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on June 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

The Liberty also had one of the early Wurlitzer organs – built in their first year of pipe organ production. It was a 3 manual, 20 rank instrument – including a 4 rank echo division. The organ was only the 42nd instrument Wurlitzer built (out of some 2200 total). The cost was a whopping $16,500.

RobKetcherside on May 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Liberty was known as United Artist Theatre (from some point) until August 1927. It switched back to Liberty then, and the Coliseum became known as United Artist Theatre.

brown on May 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

The mighty Wurlitzer after being removed in 1955 and going to PLU Gymnasium and again in 1973 moved to Spokane First Church of the Nazarene where is today.

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