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Summary for 2420 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000195 / Inv #

Historic Name: Principal Picture Exchange/National Screen Service Common Name: Windermere Realty
Style: Art Deco Neighborhood: Belltown
Built By: Year Built: 1928
This small commercial building dates from 1928, and was a part of the thriving film industry that was centered in this section of Belltown. In the 1920s-30s it housed the Principal Pictures Exchange and the National Screen Service. Like most of the film industry buildings, it was relatively ornate, with cast stone ornament above the transoms and along the cornice, and a tile bulkhead. Although the cast stone remains, the bulkhead has been re-clad and new windows have replaced the original transom windows on the front. 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.

Detail for 2420 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000195 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Block
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 2420 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000195 / Inv #

Photo taken Jul 04, 2006
App v2.0.1.0