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(Back to Washington Haunted Index)

Tacoma Pantages Theatre/
Broadway Center for the Performing Arts –
HauntedHouses.com

Haunted Place: The Pantages Theater/Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, in Tacoma

Address:

901 Broadway,
Tacoma, WA 98402

broadwaycenter.org

Location:

The Pantages Theater is located in the heart of old downtown Tacoma on Broadway, at the end of a block formed by Commerce Street, Ninth Street, and Broadway Plaza; the traditional business district.

Description:

"The Pantages is a wedding-cake-beautiful kind of building."

The Pantages Theatre-Jones business building is a steel-framed, concrete wall structure that the visitor doesn't see everyday; Combining a beautiful 2nd Renaissance Rival Pantages Theater with a starkly different business building whose architecture is late 19th century-early 20th century commerce style. The contrasts in architectural styles does work.

Because of the slope on 9th Street, The Pantages Theatre's ground floor has plenty of space for rehearsals, and storage, and hasn't changed over the years. The Pantages is the biggest theatre in Tacoma, with 1086 seats, a large balcony, a large stage, a lobby and grand staircase. The decor inside and out is truly stunning.

The Pantages Theatre has 2nd Renaissance Revival architecture and artistic style that flows from the outside walls and facades through the foyer climaxing in a wonderous display of 2nd Renaissance Revival art in the auditorium and balcony; all of which has been restored to its original splendor, thanks to The Broadway Center of the the Arts Organization and the city of Tacoma; both who value the city's theatres.

The Pantages Theatre is the cornerstone of Tacoma's theatre district, made up of three other theaters: The Rialto Theater, Theater on the Square and The Tacoma Armory that also are under the umbrella of The Broadway Center of the Arts organization. ghost-theater

HISTORY:

The beautiful Pantages Theatre was built in 1916 and opened in 1918, thanks to Alexander Pantage's business partner and mistress, Klondike Kate who invested most of her money in the construction of this very interesting combination of theatre and business building. The Tacoma Pantages Theatre was one of Alexander's circuit of vaudeville theatres that spread from the West coast to the Mississippi River, and western Canada.

Alexander hired the best architect to design and build this one of a kind structure; B Marcus Priteca, a well known Architect who excelled in his line of work, being one of the best.

Alexander's pride and joy, The Pantages Theatre, was a vaudeville/live theatre for 8 years. Unfortunately, Alexander had to sell The Pantages to RKO, who changed the theater's name to "The Orpheum" and opened it as a movie palace: starting with silent movies and then the "talkies."

In 1932, The Orphem was sold by RKO to Tacoma native, Will Conner, who changed the name of this theatre to "The Roxy". This name remained until the city bought the theatre in 1978.

Generations of people enjoyed films in this gorgeous movie palace. However, by the 1950s', The Roxy was showing her age, and was a bit worn, but still loved by the community. Her beautiful 2nd Renaissance style art was covered up with green paint in the auditorium; perhaps because it needed repair and they didn't have the desire or money to restore it.

This Tacoma icon was not allowed to go "beyond repair." In 1976, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the owner, Will Conner, who probably wanted to protect the building. This property was bought by the city of Tacoma in 1978. It was closed to undergo its first restoration and renovation and opened again in 1983. It became part of The Broadway Center of the Arts Organization.

Other musical and drama groups from the community as well as traveling play musical productions were scheduled to be part of the wonderful musical and art presentations during its theatrical seasons of performances. It became the center of cultural arts, being the biggest theatre, with over 1000 seats available.

Throughout the years, several other restoration and renovation projects were finished; adding repairs, restoration, renovation and improvements.

The Pantages Theatre began to make a hefty profit, helping to pay for all the expensive restorations and renovations. It readily became the center of the arts for Tacoma, and became an important economic anchor for this section of Tacoma that was becoming the theater district.

The current 24 million restoration/ renovation/ tech improvements started in the Spring of 2016. The Theatre will be closed to complete the more complicated saftey projects from May of 2018 to 2019. This ambitious project will fix issues and enable the theatre to showcase bigger productions and shows.

paranormal-activity

HISTORY of Manifestations:

People who spend their money and time and energy acquiring their prized possessions and relationships then wind up loosing them due to painful circumstance beyond their control, sometimes in their after-life they come back and enjoy these special possessions as best they can in spirit form.

(The Hemingway House * Boulder Theater & George's Food and Drink * Berkeley Plantation * Hartford Twain House)

A well-to-do woman, Klondike Kate Rockwell, spent every last dime in her acquired fortune helping her lover Alexander Pantages to build this Tacoma Pantages Theater because she truly loved him, and was excited to be a substantial contributor in building such a grand theatre. Like Alexander, she too loved the theatre.

However, the love wasn't mutual. Alexander dumped her, breaking her heart in pieces. His interest in another mistress became compelling. Not only was Kate not paid back the huge amount of money she gave him, but was not allowed to share in any of the theatre's profits. Kate may not have put her expectations to be paid back in writing, and assumed she would get her investment back. She loved the theater but didn't get to enjoy it. She died penniless, still yearning for Alexander.

Years later, Alexander Pantages was falsely accused by a female employee of raping her. This employee was paid by Joseph Kennedy because Alexander refused to sell his theaters to him. There was no evidence, and her story didn't hold up at the end of the second trial.

Alexander was finally declared innocent, but he was forced to sell his theaters in order to pay his huge legal bill for two legal trials. He finally sold some of his theaters to Joe Kennedy at a price lower than Joe's first offer. While Alexander had enough to live in a comfortable retirement with his family, he had to give up his beloved theaters.

Performers who still yearn to perform on stage or were stopped by circumstances of life of fulfilling a role they were hired to do sometimes come back to the theater they enjoyed.

(Pittsburg Theatre * Washington Opera House * Mantorville Opera House * Rialto Theatre * Pantages Theatre in Hollywood)

A singer still yearns to perform, not letting the fact that she is dead stop her.

People who really enjoyed their job in this world, sometimes continue after they pass, trying not to let the reality of being in spirit form get in the way.

(Brewery Arts Center * Lake Yosemite Hotel-Porter * State Theater Center for the Arts * Hotel Boulderado)

Apparently, the Pantages Theatre has a dedicated spectral employee from the past who isn't on the payroll.

Restoration of an older structure can draw in and activate spirits who have a past connection to the place and love the improvements.

(Chateau at Coindre Hall * Brumder Mansion * Geiser Grand * Pittock Mansion)

All the spirits who visit and reside here are pleased that The Pantages is dong so well and has been made beautiful again.

tacoma-ghosts

Manifestations:

Entity of former Usher: He is described as a short stocky man with blurred facial features, wearing a dark usher's coat and dark usher's pants.

When patrons arrive late with reserved seating, they are guided to their seat by an unseen presence who stops them with a cold spot at the right row. Some patrons say that they are guided by the cold gentle touch of their shoulders or or elbows.

Female entity; dressed in vaudeville era outfit

She catches the eye of the living by appearing in the balcony. After a eye to eye experience that lasts a moment, she fades from the balcony.

She enjoys singing Italian ballads for the living, especially those who see her.

Entity of Alexander Pantages and his rejected lover, Klondike Kate.

Both Entities have been seen in various places in the Pantages Theater, going about their business and enjoying the interior and entertainment.

Alexander splits his time between The Pantages Theater in Hollywood, and his Tacoma Pantages theater; both of whom have big musicals and other live entertainment booked.

Klondike Kate is there most of the time, where she can enjoy the productions and movies presented and where she can see Alexander when he visits.

ghosts

Paranormal Findings:

Many patrons and staff have experienced the manifestations mentioned above. The spirits make themselves known to the living.

Paranormal Washington caught an EVP of a woman singing in Italian, which backs up the eye witness account of a hearing and seeing a woman in the balcony singing.

still haunted?

Yes Indeed! Hard evidence has backed up the reported personal experiences of the female spirit who sings classic Italian opera in the balcony. While no hard evidence of the other spirits has been made public, the many sightings and personal experiences reported strongly suggest they are indeed there, enjoying the theatre.

Sources Include:

tacomaghoststories.blogspot.com
Sias, Patricia A., Pantages Theatre, Jones Building, 76001902; United States Department off the Interior, National Park Service; National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form; Washington D.C., November 2, 1976

cinematreasures.org

thenewstribune.com

historylink.org

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantages_Theater

a-ghost-at-the-pantages-theater-speaks

broadwaycenter.org

haunted-theater