The MGM Building

{Belltown}

The MGM Building (now Buckley's, 2331 Second Avenue) was built in 1936 in a flamboyant Art Deco style particularly suitable for the movies. The west half has sturdy steel window sash, reflecting the industrial nature of film handling. Early movie film was made of nitrocellulose, a highly flammable product, so the building had special vaults to store the film safely.

Movie distritubtion centers often had small theaters to screen the films, as well as rooms for sales, shipping and poster handling. Besides these distribution buildings, many studios such as Columbia, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and United Artists were housed in two large film exchange buildings on the site of the Belltown Court condominium.

To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle's historical sites page.

Listen to a podcast from the Belltown Walking Tour.

Second Avenue and Battery Street (2.7mb mp3)

Find this building on our walking tour map. (680kb pdf)

MGM Building, King County Property Record Card, Washington State Archives, 1937
Buckley's, photo by Mimi Sheridan, 2011

About us

This site is dedicated to the history of Seattle's downtown and waterfront, especially the State Route 99 / Alaskan Way Viaduct corridor. It was developed by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration as an educational resource and as part of a Memorandum of Agreement for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (pdf 1mb).

Copyright 2011 Washington State Department of Transportation