VIDEO: ‘Group Hug for The Admiral’ honors historic ‘neighborhood moviehouse’

2016 06-03 Group Hug for the Admiral Theater lowresJS
(Photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society; click here to see full-size version on SWSHS website)

10:58 AM: After a burst of excitement this morning, with a crowd including about 800 elementary-school students and former mayors Greg Nickels and Norm Rice, The Admiral District is getting back to the usual dull roar. The “Group Hug for The Admiral” photo event, organized by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, went off flawlessly, with photographers Jean Sherrard and Brad Chrisman atop a lift truck across the street from the historic theater, hailed as a classic “neighborhood moviehouse.” (Updated) Here’s what the crowd looked like on the ground:

(WSB photos/video from here down)

The speakers included theater operator Far Away Entertainment, Sol Baron told WSB that the renovations to convert it into a fourplex – the reason to capture this moment in time – are expected to start by mid-August, provided the final permits come through. (added) You’ll hear him in this clip, introduced by Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals, who emceed and organized the event:

12:37 PM: More of how it unfolded: Plenty of orange-vested adults (the vests were loaned by Highland Park Elementary) were there to help ensure the safety of the students, who walked from each participating school – we rolled a bit of video as each arrived:

First, the most distant school, Schmitz Park:

Then, Alki:

Finally, the nearest school – about half a block south – Lafayette:

Along with those we’ve mentioned earlier, speakers also included the principals of all three participating schools – Shannon Hobbs-Beckley from Alki, Gerrit Kischner from Schmitz Park, and Robert Gallagher from Lafayette – as well as Jim Kelly from 4Culture (which donated $95,000 to the Admiral renovation project) and Shannon Braddock from County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s office:


The principals voiced appreciation for their students’ chance to be part of a moment in local history:

The theater, its operators stressed, will remain open throughout the renovation work later this year. We’ll find out more about the specifics as the plan goes to the city Landmark Preservation Board – whose approval is required because of the theater’s landmark status – later this month.

Mayor Nickels, as introduced by Eals, represented this area on the King County Council when The Admiral closed – in danger of never reopening – in 1989. The Admiral enhances our area’s “sense of community,” he pointed out, also lauding Eals for organizing the campaign to save the theater, which reopened in 1992. Mayor Rice was in office at the time of the reopening and said The Admiral continues to “symbolize West Seattle … and the people who care so much about it.”

P.S. From-above SWSHS photo added 10:30 am Saturday!

4 Replies to "VIDEO: 'Group Hug for The Admiral' honors historic 'neighborhood moviehouse'"

  • Max June 3, 2016 (12:31 pm)

    When they remodel, I hope they put in comfortable seats. We would love to go to the Admiral but have not been there in several years, because we cannot sit in the seats for the duration of a movie.

    • WSB June 3, 2016 (12:39 pm)

      Yes, there will be seats, cupholders, much more. We will be learning more details at upcoming reviews; the Far Away Entertainment rep today mentioned a few more details that we’ll be adding.

  • Max June 3, 2016 (4:11 pm)

    Good to hear. If they need tush testers, we’re available!

  • Unknown June 4, 2016 (12:11 am)

    So proud to be part of a historical moment and be there for the schools I enjoy working for in my community.  

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