Once Upon a Time/Alcazar Theater Building

609 First Street

Alcazar Theater building as second hand store, 2011, HistoryLink photo by W.Blake
Alcazar Theater building as the Eastside Garage, ca. 1915, Snohomish Historical Society
Artist interpretation of “box-theater” style interior, published in David Dilgard's "Mill Town Footlights," 2001

The Alcazar Theater was built by Mr. Jackson, owner of the Jackson Wharf at the base of Maple Avenue and the Jackson Row Houses at Maple and Pearl, behind the Carnegie Library Building. Opening night was noted in the November 11, 1892, issue of the Snohomish County Tribune: “Passing through the broad arched entrance, the auditorium, 33 x 45 feet in size, with a seating capacity of 350 persons, is reached. In construction and decoration no expense has been spared, and the desired result, a theater first-class in all its appointments has been attained.”

The singer Al Jolson, new on the vaudeville circuit, appeared here in 1906, bumped from an Everett venue. By this time the theater’s sleazy beginnings as an “opera house” were scrubbed clean by performances with school children cast as “The Mighty Midgets” in a fundraising effort for the new library.

By the end of World War I, owner Charles H. Crippen had his Eastside Garage up and running, with furnished rooms on the second floor. The current owner, James McGinty claims that his building is the most photographed historic structure in Snohomish. “So why change it,” he asks? Indeed, a tour of the building’s second floor features fragments of rope still tied to the rafters that we imagine once held scenic elements, as well as islands of linoleum flooring left behind when the walls that divided the large room into small apartments were removed. A tour of the basement tells the story of a long-ago fire that charred the framing of the orchestra pit.

The building is no longer open for tours, only the store, but as you walk in, look up to the ceiling, looking for the black rail in a horseshoe configuration — it marks the edge of the balcony with its private seats overlooking but hidden from the audience below.

Download the App

Visit HistoryLink.Tours in your mobile browser to download our web app!

HistoryLink Tours App

To add this web app to your device, tap the share icon and select Add to Home Screen.

HistoryLink Tours App

To add this web app to your device, tap the overflow button (three vertical dots) and select Add to Home Screen.