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80s Everett: Historic Everett Theatre

In 1988 Barb Lamoureux started selling real estate. Thirty years later we’re celebrating Barb's legacy in Everett by heading back to the beginning to remember what Everett was like in the 1980s. Our next stop: Hewitt Avenue.

When it was built in 1901, the Everett Theater was the largest theater west of the Mississippi River. It held one-third of Everett’s population at the time: early photographs show packed seats.

In the days before television and radio the building, located at 2911 Colby Avenue, hosted traveling theater troupes. It’s remarkable today to see and read about these performances, each act trying to pack the seats with over-the-top spectacles.

Courtesy Historic Everett Theatre

Courtesy Historic Everett Theatre

The stage lights were hot, the makeup was thick, and the stage could support dancing elephants. The bricked-up stage entrance at the back of the theater, which can still be seen today, was large enough to load in pachyderms for these shows.

For 35 years the Everett Theatre was the king of Mill Town. But by the mid-1920s, as movies became a popular American pastime, the Everett Theater started competing directly with other theaters downtown, especially the 700-seat Roxy (opened in 1935) which was located almost directly across the street from the Everett.

Colby Avenue at the time was the main drag in town. “Cruising Colby” was a major pastime for motorists. The Roxy and the Everett Theatre got into a contest to see who could attract more passersby with big pictures and big-name stars.

The Roxy brought in a refrigerated candy stand. The Everett Theatre began advertising Mickey Mouse cartoons. Either theater would seemingly do anything to get advantage over the competitor across the street.

After World War II Everett’s downtown theaters began to close, one by one. Moviegoers began staying home to tune into television programming. The Roxy closed its doors in the 1970s, just as the new Everett Mall was attracting modern audiences to the south side of town.

From the 1980s on, the Everett Theatre has been the last of the downtown theaters still in operation. It has picked up the honorific title of  “historic,” as it’s bravely weathered a century of Everett rainfall.

Today the theater hosts improv comedy acts, rock-and-roll throwback bands, and sometimes it still shows movies.

“The Everett” faces an uncertain future, as the current owner has expressed interest in selling it and is looking for a group of investors to chip in on the multimillion dollar price tag.

The curtain hasn’t come down for the final time on this old building. Here’s to another century of accrued history in downtown Everett.

Many things have changed over the last few decades in Everett, but some things remain the same, like Lamoureux Real Estates dedication to serving the Everett communities real estate needs. Cheers to Barb Lamoureux on 30 years!

That’s it for this month’s '80s Everett! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get all of our articles in your inbox.

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