For long-time Tacomans of a certain age, it was a movie theater known as the Music Box, but for the first few decades of its life, it was a stage venue, playing host to a wide range of musical guests. The grand brick structure at the corner of 9th and Broadway, between the Pantages and the Rialto, would likely still be with us today, anchoring Tacoma’s Theater District, if it were not lost to fire in 1963.
Described as the ‘Finest Temple on the Coast’ when it opened in January of 1890, the theater was home to everything from community gatherings to famous guests, including Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, Sarah Bernhardt, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and even a staged production of Ben Hur, complete with live horses!
To learn more about the history of the venue, read Kim Davenport’s article in the Spring 2016 issue of COLUMBIA: text only, or with pictures!
And stay tuned for the release of Fire on Broadway, a new film utilizing historic footage of the 1963 fire which destroyed the venue. In the meantime, the trailer: