Empire Theatre

620 Commercial Avenue,
Anacortes, WA 98221

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Empire Theater

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Functions: Retail

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Uncropped version of `50's photo.

The Empire Theatre was opened in December 1913. Here is another theatre photo that I found. It is the former Empire Theatre in Anacortes, Washington. The photo was taken during a 1939 remodel of the theatre. The Empire Theatre was still open in 1957.

It became a jewellery store and is now used by several retail units.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Rachelp on September 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm

From the Anacortes American newspaper, May 3rd 1928: EMPIRE THEATER GETS NEW COLD LIGHT SIGN “Waldo Ives, of the Empire Theater, has erected a new 20-foot Neon sign, it being one of the newest innovations in signs in the northwest, and one that is rapidly supplanting the old electric signs. The sign is made of glass rods filled with gas, and the name Ives in in blue, the word Empire is in red, and the word theater is incandescent lights. It is the first of the new gas signs to be installed in the county.” Skagit county, BTW…and I think Anacortes used to be the county seat.

Rachelp on September 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Thanks for posting those photos!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 13, 2011 at 1:46 am

Though no theater name is mentioned, the following item in the December 20, 1913, issue of Domestic Engineering probably refers to the Empire: “Work is progressing on the fireproof theater, being erected on the corner of Seventh and Commercial Avenues, through the winter.”

JackCoursey on April 19, 2022 at 2:38 pm

This might be the same theatre as the Rose.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2022 at 3:15 pm

JackCoursey: The Empire was on the corner, and the Rose a few doors up the block. The Anacortes Museum has a web page with quite a bit of information about the Rose, which I’ll link to on the Rose page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 20, 2022 at 1:49 am

A circa 1940 photo of the Empire can be seen on this web page from the Anacortes Museum. The text quotes a December 18, 1913 item from the Anacortes American saying that the new theater was scheduled to open Monday (December 22.) A Sanborn map shows a theater at the Empire’s location in 1907, but I’ve been unable to find any information about it, and the 1913 building appears to have been new construction.

The Empire underwent a thorough redecorating in 1927. In the 1940s, the local high school mounted its school plays on the Empire’s stage. In 1937, a local jewelry store moved into a storefront in the theater building, and in 1958 the store expanded into the entire theater space. The Empire is still listed in the Film Daily Year Book in 1951. I don’t have access to later editions, but the theater must have closed during that decade.

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