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Summary for 2318-22 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000235 / Inv #

Historic Name: B. F. Shearer Co. Common Name: Rendezvous/Jewel Box
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Belltown
Built By: Year Built: 1928
This building was designed in 1928 by Earle Morrison for owner E. N. Canedy. However, from the beginning the intended occupant appears to have been B. F. Shearer, a local theater entrepreneur. Although the exterior of this building has been significantly altered, it played a major role in the history of the Belltown film district, and important interior features remain largely intact. From the time of its construction until the early 1960s the building housed the B. F. Shearer Company, which provided curtains, seats and other furnishings and supplies for theaters throughout the Northwest. Inside, within the Rendezvous club, is the small Jewel Box Theater, which was used as a screening room where distributors showed their films to theater managers; it is the only remaining screening room in the city and is still used for performances. The theater was remodeled in 1932 by Bjorn Moe, a local theater designer. The permit for the work states: "Use of moving picture booth and display limited to demonstration and sales of theatre equipment only; general public not admitted". The upper portion of the building has a large space used to dry theater curtains after dyeing. The company supplied seats and other furnishings for two of Seattle’s greatest theaters, the Fifth Avenue and the Orpheum. When theaters declined after World War II, Shearer's company furnished schools and other auditoriums. It was purchased by the Lake Theater Company of Los Angeles in the 1950s and, in 1956, became the Rendezvous Restaurant. B. F. Shearer was one of the most prominent figures in the Northwest film industry, with a multifaceted career. He began working in theaters in Billings, Montana, and came to Seattle in 1920. In addition to owning the B. F. Shearer Company, he generally promoted theaters and the film industry (which may have led to his installing a screening room), and owned chains of theaters in Everett and in Alaska. From the 1920s until the 1960s, Belltown was the center of the film industry in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle was a major film center, more than fifty theaters in the 1920-40s, and more than 400 in the state. All the major studios and many smaller ones had distribution centers, called film exchanges, in Belltown. Films were shipped by rail from Los Angeles, and were shipped from here to local theaters in Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana by truck, ship, rail or auto. Each distributor had salesmen who would preview the films and go on the road to describe the new releases to theater owners. Many theater owners came here themselves to view the films and select the ones they wanted to feature. “Film Row” originated at 3rd and Lenora, but moved to the 2nd and Battery vicinity in the mid-1920s. The major film exchange buildings, built in 1928, were across from this site at 1st and Battery, now the location of Belltown Court condominium. These buildings housed Columbia, Warner's, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and many others. Others built their own film exchanges, such as the MGM/Loew’s building at Second and Battery. They included special vaults to store the highly flammable nitrate film, and often had small theaters to screen the films. Surrounding buildings included theater furnishing suppliers, poster companies and other supporting businesses. Nearby was the Lorraine Hotel (now the William Tell), where many in the film industry stayed on their business trips. In 1952 the payroll on Film Row alone was estimated at more than $1,000,000, not including profits from theaters, equipment or advertising.
The first story of this two-story building was altered in 2001 with a new recessed entry added in the center, providing access to the upstairs office. The northern storefront, where the Rendezvous club is located, has been completely modernized with slate cladding, new windows and a metal canopy. The south storefront is more intact, with its original 15-light transoms above the display windows. Cladding is primarily stucco. Windows on the second story have newer aluminum.

Detail for 2318-22 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000235 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stone, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.
Sheridan, Mimi, “Historic Context Statement, Belltown," 2007.

Photo collection for 2318-22 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000235 / Inv #

Photo taken Jul 04, 2006

Photo taken Jul 04, 2006
App v2.0.1.0