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Sunset Theatre/Town Hall (1919)

This two-story stucco-clad building was constructed in 1919 as a movie theater, most likely for E.W. Sandel. Sandel operated theaters in North Bend and Issaquah in addition to working as a druggist in Snoqualmie from 1917-1922. He operated the theater as the Dream Theater until about 1923, when William Cochrane acquired it. Cochrane, who had just built the Brook Theater in Meadowbrook, changed the Dream Theater’s name to the Sunset Theatre. The new name referenced the building’s location on the Sunset Highway (Railroad Avenue).

The main entry is recessed beneath a low, arched opening framed by a larger rectangle. The design recalls a proscenium arch on a stage.  At the top of the parapet, a prominent cornice with rounded coronae projects from the building.

Cochrane closed the Sunset Theatre in January 1930 in response to declining ticket sales and the public’s desire for movies with sound not accommodated in the theater’s design.  A 1939 remodel readied the building for a new purpose –  to house the town hall and the fire station. During World War II it supported the local air raid tower and horn. In 1946, Snoqualmie established its first library on the upper level.


Historic photo credit: Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum


Sunset Theatre Building, August 2020

8086 Railroad Ave SE
Snoqualmie, WA 98065 United States
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