7th Street Theatre Façade Restoration

Hoquiam, WA

The 7th Street Theatre, located in the downtown area of Hoquiam, Washington, was opened in 1928 by Ed Dolan and Olaf T. Taylor of the newly-formed Hoquiam Amusement Company. It was designed by in a Spanish Revival style, evocative of a Moorish temple, by architect Edwin St. John Griffin and the architectural firm Huntington & Torbitt. The interior design was greatly influenced by the the “atmospheric” theatre aesthetics pioneered by architect John Eberson. A hallmark of painted decoration in atmospheric theatres is the use of bright, primary colors applied using dry brush techniques to textured and ornamental surfaces. The Spanish revival ornament of the walls was offset by a soft blue-gray ceiling, evoking the evening sky. The theater also featured a tiled fountain near the restrooms, a beamed ceiling in the lobby, and seating for more than 1,000 people when it opened. It’s initial function was to host both vaudeville acts, as well as show the new “talkies.”

The theatre closed in 1957 due to dwindling sales and the rise of television. It was purchased by a local couple in 1976 with the intention of restoration, but real efforts weren’t undertaken until 1986 when the Grays Harbor Community Concert Association purchased the building and the non-profit group Friends of the 7th Street Theatre was formed. In 1987 they were successful in getting the 7th Street Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several restoration and remodeling efforts were performed beginning in the 1990s and are currently ongoing. In 2002 the Grays Harbor Community Concert Association and the Friends of the 7th Street Theatre combined into one non-profit group called the 7th Street Theatre Association. The building was added to the City of Hoquiam’s Historic Register in 2008. The theatre currently produces several events showcasing local artists, as well as shows classic movies.

In 2014 EverGreene was retained by the 7th Street Theatre Association to conduct an exterior finishes investigation and microscopic analysis, as well as perform a general condition survey of the existing exterior features of 7th Street Theatre. The purpose of this survey was to support renovation efforts by documenting the historic color palettes and decorative motifs as well as to document the current conditions of the remaining flat and decorative features. In 2023 EverGreene returned to the 7th Street Theatre to perform exterior conservation and restoration based upon the 2014 investigation findings. The façade, southern facing side, and alleyway were all addressed. Work included some plaster repairs; surface cleaning; restoration and conservation of sgraffito murals; reinstating stenciling and polychroming where appropriate; prepping and painting of surfaces where required; wood restoration; application of appropriate protective coatings; and the replication and reinstallation of the bas-relief features on the façade and southern facing side, as the original ones were too fragile to reinstate.