Site of Seattle’s Guild 45th Theater getting torn down

Many local memories began at the theater

A black and white photo shows the marquee of the Bruen's 45th St. theater with the title below: "Barbara Stanwyck, Ever In My Heart"

Hugh W. Bruen owned the theater in the 1930s.

Photo via MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, 1983.10.4964.30

Closing credits always hit us in the feels. ICYMI, demolition recently began at the site of Wallingford’s famed Guild 45th Theater. Even though the location has been shuttered for years, many Seattleites’ celluloid-filled memories began there — and it’s worth a final standing ovation. 🎞️

Flashing back 📽️

Built not long after World War I, the Guild changed names and owners a few times over the past century, but maintained its eye-catching art deco look.

The theater added a second screening room (the “Blue Building”) in 1984 and earned a rep as an arthouse destination, even giving away free coffee + cigarettes between shows at one point. Hey, it was a different time.

The front of the Guild 45th Theater in Seattle with its pink exterior and art deco design.

The 45th Guild was recognizable for its art deco design + flashy marquee.

Photo via the Seattle Municipal Archives, No. 109947

Fading out 📽️

With the entire property being razed, both the original “Pink” room + the not-as-old-but-still-cool “Blue” theater never quite had a chance for one last big-screen hurrah. An effort six years ago around granting the Guild Landmark status wasn’t successful.

It’s unclear if a new theater or something similar will take the place of the Guild. The property is zoned for a five-story development with restaurants + shops on the street level — but there’s been no word on new construction.

Fans who want to reminisce can visit nearby Octopus Bar, which managed to snag a part of the theater’s famed marquee + put it on display. Cheers to quick thinking.

Keeping it reel 📽️

Though the Guild may not be able to make a comeback, movie buffs can check out some of these local theaters that embrace similar cinephile roots.

  • Ark Lodge | Columbia City’s shaggy movie house plays current blockbusters alongside indies, and may soon add events.
  • SIFF Cinema (Uptown + the Egyptian) | Though known for its annual international film festival, these two theaters show hard-to-find flicks all-year ‘round.
  • The Beacon | Another Columbia City gem that leans into cult classics and has a pretty stellar lineup of beers.
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