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Summary for 4535 University WAY / Parcel ID 881640-1085 / Inv #

Historic Name: Egyptian Theater/Murphy Building Common Name: Rite-Aid
Style: Modern Neighborhood: University
Built By: Year Built: 1925
This was once one of the most important buildings in the University District, the Egyptian Theater. During the 1920s every Seattle neighborhood had at least one theater and this was one of three in this vicinity. It was built in 1925 by T.F. Murphy, a major investor in University District property. The Egyptian cost $250,000, seated 1300 people, and was proclaimed to be one of the largest and finest suburban theaters in the Northwest. The building was very elegant, with the theater marquee and lobby at the north end and six small storefronts along the street (east). The high roof of the auditorium, running north-south, is still visible. Cladding was concrete with marble bulkheads, multipaned transoms, and terra cotta ornament below the cornice and above the windows. Tenants included (1938) Murphy Realty, Western Union, a jeweler and a shoe repair ship. The theater closed in the 1950s and the building was completely remodeled into a Pay'n Save drugstore; it has been modernized since then is now a Rite-Aid drugstore. The University Heights Addition was still a very rural area when it was platted in 1899, although the University of Washington had moved to its nearby campus in 1895. The commercial hub moved to the corner of NE 45th Street and University Way NE about the time of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. The 1920s were the commercial heyday of the district, as stores and services of all types appeared to serve the nearby residential neighborhoods like University Park, the numerous apartment buildings, and the students themselves.
This building now has one large storefront toward the south end and three smaller ones toward the north. Cladding is stucco with no ornamentation. The entries and windows are all new, with no sign of its former use or style. It has been updated relatively recently with ceramic tile around the entries and granite bulkheads. The rear has large blank concrete fa├žade with an entry toward the south end.

Detail for 4535 University WAY / Parcel ID 881640-1085 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Recreation and Culture - Theater Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Interior: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Nielsen, Roy. UniverCity: The Story of The University District in Seattle. Seattle: University Lions Foundation, 1986.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Tobin, Caroline and Sarah Sodt, "University District Historic Survey Report," City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program, 2002.

Photo collection for 4535 University WAY / Parcel ID 881640-1085 / Inv #

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