Clemmer Theatre in Spokane opens in 1914.

  • By Eric L. Flom
  • Posted 2/22/2003
  • Essay 5273
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Sometime in 1914, the Clemmer Theatre, located at 901 W. Sprague Avenue, opens for business.  Overnight the venue becomes one of Spokane’s largest and best-equipped motion picture house.

Designed in a “restrained” neoclassical style by noted theater architect Edwin W. Houghton (1856-1927), the Clemmer originally sat 800 patrons and boasted a 4/32 Kimball organ, one of the most impressive instruments in the city.  Among the house’s first musicians to play the machine was Jessie Crawford, eventually recognized as one of the great silent film organists of all time.

Although known variously throughout its history as the Clemmer, the Audion, and the State, the venue eventually became known as the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center (“Met,” for short). In 1988, the house underwent a substantial restoration spearheaded by its owners, Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., Inc., a family-owned business founded by C. Paul Sandifur Sr.

The refurbished Met now seats almost 750, and hosts a variety of performing arts engagements in Spokane, including stage and concert events.


“Clemmer (Audion, State, Met) Theatre -- Spokane,” Puget Sound Pipeline Online, ( spokane/clemmer.htm); "Historical Information,” The Metropolitan Performing Arts Center Website, (; “Opening Remarks at The Met’s Opening Gala, October 1, 1988, Made by C. Paul Sandifer, Jr., President,” Ibid.; “Theater Features,” Ibid.

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