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Summary for 702 19th AVE / Parcel ID 1338800890 / Inv # CH006

Historic Name: Roycroft Theater Common Name: Russian Community Center
Style: Spanish - Mediterranean Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Built By: unknown Year Built: 1925
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This is one of the city's most intact neighborhood theaters. During the 1920s-30s every Seattle neighbor had one of more theaters, showing movies at prices lower than the large downtown movie palaces. The growing popularity of television in the 1950s brought the end of these smaller venues; most have been demolished or significantly changed, including Capitol Hill's other two theaters, the Broadway (now a drugstore) and the Venetian (demolished in 1959). The Roycroft was more ornate than most of them, with Mediterranean Revival terra cotta ornamentation, which remains largely intact. The building operated as a movie theater until 1959. It soon became the Russian Community Center. In addition to using it for their own meetings and events, the group rents the hall for dance classes and other events. The building is also used as a Baptist church. An unusual feature is the original painted sign remaining on the north wall, with the words "Roycroft Theatre" and urging people to stay in the neighborhood rather than attending downtown theaters. The building has several storefronts. In the 1930s the stores included the Roycroft Radio Shop, a grocery store and Madison Cleaners, owned by the parents of Helene Madison, an Olympic medalist in swimming. The storefront next to the theater entrance was once the Red Mill, a café that later moved a few doors north and was a very popular neighborhood feature for many years.
The theater is clad with yellow brick with cream-colored terra cotta trim. The parapet arches above the main entry, anchored by a wide terra cotta cornice supported by acanthus brackets. The arched windows on the second floor have terra cotta ornamentation with a lyre motif--perhaps reflective of music heard in the theater. Between groups of windows are shield-shaped medallions in terra cotta. The original multilight windows have been replaced by single fixed-pane sash. The suspended metal canopy still shelters the theater entry; a smaller canopy is on the south elevation. The entry area, ticket window and the storefront to the south have been modernized with glass block and some modern display windows; other windows have been covered with wood.

Detail for 702 19th AVE / Parcel ID 1338800890 / Inv # CH006

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Recreation and Culture - Theater Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Entertainment/Recreation, Ethnic Heritage
Major Bibliographic References
Felzer, Clem, map of 19th Avenue East, unpublished.
Williams, Jacqueline B. The Hill with a Future: Seattle's Capitol Hill 1900-1946. Seattle: CPK Ink, 2001.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 702 19th AVE / Parcel ID 1338800890 / Inv # CH006

Photo taken Jul 07, 2001
App v2.0.1.0