Research Corner Archives

The Princess Theatre

By Kathe Hall from the Museum Light June 2004

The Princess Theater

 

Following several downtown fires, original wooden buildings lining George Street (Main Street) were being replaced with concrete and brick fire-proof construction. John McGinnis, owner of the property between the Danish American Bakery and Ohio L. Miller’s law office, decided to construct just such a building to house the local theater.

Princess Theatre construction, 1923

The plans specified a building of 40 x 75 feet. The entrance was to be located at the center of the building, and one small storeroom were to flank it on each side. Seating capacity would be able to handle approximately 450 people. The building would cost $12,000. Construction started in June of 1929 by the Big Four Construction Company of Edmonds. Completion was expected by September, however the theater opened November 2, 1923.

During construction both storerooms on either side of the entrance were occupied by businesses. Mr. K.L. Heath opened a barbershop and Lillian Bartlett opened a beauty shop in connection with the barbershop soon after. Surplus Army Goods, part of a chain of Northwest stores, occupied the other room.

Once completed the Tribune-Review published a description of the opening night festivities and the theater: “The new screen is one of the best obtainable, the seats are upholstered, the spacious lobby and aisles are carpeted with heavy velvety carpets; beautiful lighting effects are made perfect by a dimmer control; the auditorium has a high ceiling and is well ventilated and heated; at the rear of the balcony is a nearly furnished rest room for ladies. One side of the balcony is attractively fitted as a lodge with comfortable wicker chairs.”

The first talking picture, “Broadway Melody” was shown August 29, 1929, and with the advent of “talkies” ticket prices rose to .35 cents. This price was lowered to .25 cents during the Great Depression.

In March 1940, the theater underwent some interior changes; new seating, carpeting, projection lamps and sound equipment were installed. Through the years additional changes and remodels have occurred, but one thing has remained constant: the Edmonds Theater continues to delight audiences with great movies in an intimate atmosphere.