The Paramount Pictures Building

{Belltown}

The vicinity of Second Avenue and Battery Street was Seattle's "Film Row" from the 1920s until the 1960s. Seattle was a major film center and all the large studios and many smaller ones had distribution centers, called film exchanges, in Belltown. Films were shipped by rail from Los Angeles, and then sent to more than 400 local theaters throughout the Northwest and Alaska by truck, ship, rail or auto. Many theater owners and managers came here themselves to preview films and select the ones they wanted to feature.

Related businesses such as theater equipment dealers and poster companies were located nearby. By the 1960s, changes in transportation, technology and marketing had rendered the film exchanges obsolete, and the remaining buildings now have new uses. Paramount Pictures (now the Catholic Seamen's Club, 2330 First Avenue) was the last of the local film exchanges to be built, in 1937. Its original Streamlined Moderne style is still apparent despite alterations for new uses.

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

Listen to a podcast from the Belltown Walking Tour.

Second Avenue and Battery Street (1.9mb mp3)

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

Paramount Pictures Building, King County Property Record Card, Washington State Archives, 1937
Paramount Pictures Building 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