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Fox Theatre - 3/13 Wurlitzer
Spokane, Washington
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June 19, 2000 Contact: Annie Matlow (509) 326-3136

SPOKANE — The Spokane Symphony today announced it has reached an agreement that will save one of Spokane’s most glamorous landmarks, the Fox Theater, from the wrecking ball. The proposed plans for the historic Art Deco movie theater include a first class performing arts center in the blossoming Davenport Arts District.
“We are pleased to let everyone know that the Spokane Symphony has responded to the public ’Save the Fox’ outcry. We have made a commitment to create a venue for the city’s finest performers in an architectural jewel,” said Bill Simer, treasurer of the Symphony’s Board of Trustees and chairman of the Save the Fox Committee.
Simer said the Symphony trustees have been evaluating the potential of the Fox Theater as a performing arts center since it went up for sale in January. Since that time, many people have been involved in negotiations and in the last 48 hours an agreement to purchase the theater has been reached. A 90-day due diligence period has begun.
“The public turned to us and we responded. For 55 years we have been a cornerstone of the cultural community and this was an opportunity to enrich it even further by saving this architectural gem and at the same time creating a beautiful performing arts center,” Simer added. The Spokane Symphony performed in the Fox Theater from 1968 to 1974, following the demolition of the Post Street Theater.
The Save the Fox Committee is launching a drive to raise the funds to purchase the theater. A donation of $500 for each of the 1,700 seats in the theater will raise the funds to preserve the building. Donations of that size or more guarantee an invitation to the campaign’s wrap-up celebration on Nov. 11, 2000 in the pre-restoration Fox Theater.
The Symphony has applied for a grant from the Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development Building for the Arts Program. The grant, which will be reviewed in a biannual process on June 16, would provide 20 percent of the purchase price. The Symphony will need to raise about $850,000 to complete the purchase.
“Individuals can help save this important part of Spokane’s history, ensuring a link from our glorious past with the bright future,” Simer said. Members of the historic preservation community, including the Spokane Preservation Advocates, Friends of the Davenport, the Davenport Arts District Board and others, strongly support the Symphony action.
During the three-month campaign to raise the funds to purchase the Fox, the Symphony Board of Trustees will research the renovation, funding, and operational issues for the completion of the project.
“Saving the Fox now is our highest priority. If we do not move quickly, this opportunity will be lost forever. Yes, there are issues we still have to resolve, but the public asked us to help and we are asking them to join us in the effort,” said Garry Shea, President of the Symphony Board of Trustees.
Constructed in 1931, the Fox Theater is a well-known and beloved landmark in Downtown Spokane. It is a unique remnant of the era of romantic atmospheric theaters of the 1920s and '30s. The Fox Theater is the only remaining large Art Deco style theater north of San Francisco.
Designed by Robert C. Reamer, who also designed Seattle's well-known Fifth Avenue Theater, the Fox has been in constant operation as a movie and performance theater serving downtown Spokane for nearly 70 years.
In 1930, Fox West Coast Theaters announced that Spokane's Fox Theater, a $1,000,000 investment for the company, would be "one of the finest houses of its size on the Pacific coast. No expense will be spared in equipment or decorations."
Newspapers provided frequent updates to the community about the progress of the theater's construction. They reported that 3,578 bulbs were needed for inside illumination alone. Two neon strips bordered a huge mirror in the foyer and a big diamond-shaped neon light illuminated the foyer ceiling. A large illuminated sign with "FOX" in vertical letters three feet high still stands atop the building. The neon lighting alone was reported to have cost $9,000.
When the theater was built, air conditioning was still a novelty and the term "air conditioning" was not generally used. Installed for the sizeable sum of $43,000, the air conditioning was the first of its kind in Spokane. Details about the system labeled "the ventilating of the largest in the west."
At the grand opening of the theater on Sept. 3, 1931, it was reported that 50,000 people jammed the corner of Sprague and Monroe to catch sight of popular film stars Anita Page, Victor McAllen, Mitzi Green, and other popular film stars of the era who were in town for the opening night.
The Save the Fox Campaign Office will open today at 1005 W. Sprague Ave. The campaign office phone number is (509) 458-5923 and the email address is Additional information about the Spokane Symphony is available at Click here to HELP US SAVE THE FOX!
SAVE the FOX 458-5923 VISION
We must save one of Spokane's most glamorous landmarks from the wrecking ball. It cost $1 million to build the Fox in 1931 and it will take just over $1 million in 2000 to save this historic treasure.
Your donation of $500 or more for one of the 1,700 seats in the restored theater gives you a special invitation to a campaign wrap-up celebration featuring the Spokane Symphony on Nov. 11, 2000 in the pre-restoration Fox Theater, appropriate recognition in the lobby of the renovated theater and a commemorative memento.
Most of all, your gift of any size will help restore pride in an important piece of Spokane's history.

Created as one of America's great picture palaces, and the last of 15 in Downtown Spokane, the Fox remains a romantic remnant of an era past but not forgotten. The Fox Theater is the only remaining large Art Deco Theater north of San Francisco.
It was the place to go! Whether it was the opening of an unforgettable movie in the plush environment or a paperboy matinee, a trip to the balcony with your sweetheart, or your family's weekly outing, your first movie or your hundredth, a trip to the Fox has always been a special occasion.
The Spokane Symphony has responded to the "Save the Fox!" outcry with a commitment to create a venue for the city's finest performers in an architectural jewel. It will link our glorious past with the bright future. Just as a musical masterpiece is composed one note at a time, the Fox Theater can be saved for all of Spokane - one seat at a time. The memories of the Fox can be preserved by helping purchase this beautiful building. Save it from the wrecking ball.
For ways to help call (509) 458-5923 or check or email

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