1105 Commerce Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Sterling Theaters, Inc.
Previous Names: Peekin Theatre
The 600 seat Chinese-style Peekin Theatre opened in 1925. Its pagoda-style facade survives today. It was built by a local contactor, Val Quoidbach, for a customer who fled without paying, leaving Quoidbach with the theatre. Quoidbach, his wife and their two small sons moved into the apartment over the lobby and went into the movie business.
The Quoidbachs ran the theatre for 10 years. The name changed from the Peekin Theatre to the Roxy Theatre sometime in the 1930’s, and the theatre was sold to W.G. Ripley. The Roxy Theatre underwent extensive remodeling under Ripley, adding a three-sided marquee and a vertical sign.
During World War II, the Roxy Theatre was the top moviehouse in Longview, showing major-studio, first-run productions. It was sold to the Sterling Theaters chain of Seattle in 1945, and the first-run policy moved to the larger and newer Longview Theatre. The Roxy Theatre switched to weekend operations and showed B pictures, and finally announced ‘Closed for the Summer’ in June 1946. The ‘Closed for the Summer’ sign remained in the box-office window for years.
The Roxy Theatre was later used as a church and a live theatre. It was sold in 1983 to Darrell and Doreen DeWitt, who opened a furniture store in the auditorium and enclosed the old theatre entrance and adjacent retail spaces to add display space. The DeWitts preserved the stage arch, although it is filled in with sheetrock and painted. The arch is all that remains of the old theatre.
The furniture store went out of business in 2001 and it became a nightclub, which closed in 2010. The building was purchased by a church, and restoration work began in September 2015 to convert the theatre back into use for live performances, movies and banquet suite. The seating capacity will be reduced to 400.
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