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Summary for 512 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000055 / Inv #

Historic Name: Florence Theater/ Paris Theater Common Name: 512 2nd Avenue
Style: Commercial, Beaux Arts - American Renaissance Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1900
The building was constructed in 1900 and first remodeled in 1924. In its early years, it was a burlesque theater. It continued to operate as a theater of some sort well into the late 1980s. It was originally known as the Florence Theater, which was still its name in the 1930s, based on historical photos (King County Tax Assessor). By the 1930s, it had a marquee above the ground level and a large blade sign with the name “Florence Theater.” By the 1970s, as the Paris Theater, it still retained a 189 square foot skylight, three stairways, a 31 foot dropped beam ceiling and decorated plaster detailing. By the time of the remodel/ renovation of the Smith Tower in the late 1990s, the original architectural detailing of the lower part of the façade had been lost, although the remodel did retain the general configuration of the façade and elements of the upper story. For a long time, the building was one of last recognizable theaters from Seattle’s early days, but nothing indicating its former use seems to be left and the façade has lost most of its original architectural elements. It is historic non-contributing. The Paris Theater apparently showed skin flicks. By the 1980s, it housed the Pioneer Square Annex Theater, known for the production of the popular musical “Angry Housewives,” which ran for six years (although early shows were at the former Velvet Elvis on Occidental in the former Walker Block).
This is a two-story building, located mid-block between James Street and Yesler Way on Second Avenue on the block north of the beginning of Second Avenue Extension. The building has only one street facing elevation and is located between two much taller buildings, the Collins Building to the north and the Smith Tower to the south (or southeast). While a recent remodel to the interior and to the façade has uncovered an original ornamental pilaster and left the two original bays windows shown on historical photos, the bottom level has been completely remodeled, with major changes to openings and to cladding. The original projecting cornice below the top of the parapet is also gone. The general scale and the configuration of the top level, as well as ornamental pilaster that separates the two bay windows remain.

Detail for 512 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000055 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Recreation and Culture - Theater Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Arts, Commerce
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Brians, Ann Elizabeth. Indomitable Pioneer Square. Master of Urban Planning Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle, 1973.

Photo collection for 512 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000055 / Inv #

Photo taken May 24, 2004
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