Pantages Theatre

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After acquiring their prized possessions and relationships only to lose
them, spirits enjoy these special possessions in their afterlife.

Heartbreak and rejection in this world have added to the strength of a haunting here.

Performers who still yearn to perform or were
stopped by circumstance are still trying to do so.

People who really enjoyed their work in this world, sometimes continue after they pass.


“The Pantages is a wedding-cake-beautiful kind of building.”


The Pantages Theatre-Jones business building is a steel-framed, concrete-walled structure of a kind not often seen, effectively combining the beautiful second Renaissance Rival Pantages Theater with the starkly different late 19th century/early 20th century commerce style architecture of the Jones business building.

Because of the slope on 9th Street, The Pantages Theatre’s ground floor has plenty of space for rehearsals, and storage, and hasn’t changed over the years. The Pantages is the biggest theatre in Tacoma, with 1086 seats, a large balcony, a large stage, a lobby and grand staircase. The decor inside and out is truly stunning.

The Pantages has an artistic style that flows from the outside walls and facades through the foyer, climaxing in a wondrous display in the auditorium and balcony, all of which has been restored to its original splendor, thanks to The Broadway Center of the Arts Organization and the city of Tacoma.

The Pantages is the cornerstone of Tacoma’s theatre district, made up of three other theaters: The Rialto Theater, the Theater on the Square and The Tacoma Armory that are also under the umbrella of The Broadway Center of the Arts organization.



The Pantages was built in 1916 and opened in 1918, thanks to Alexander Pantages’s business partner and mistress, Klondike Kate, who invested most of her money in the construction of this very interesting hybrid building. It was one of Alexander’s circuit of vaudeville theatres that spread from the West coast to the Mississippi River, and up into western Canada.

Alexander hired the best architect to design and build this one-of-a-kind structure: B Marcus Priteca.

It was Alexander’s pride and joy, and served as a vaudeville/live theatre for eight years. Unfortunately, Alexander had to sell it to RKO, who changed its name to “The Orpheum” and opened it as a movie palace, starting with silent movies and then the “talkies.”

In 1932, The Orpheum was sold by RKO to Tacoma native Will Conner, who changed its name again, to “The Roxy”. This name remained until the city bought the theatre in 1978.

Generations of people enjoyed films in this gorgeous movie palace. However, by the 1950s, The Roxy was showing her age, and was a bit worn, though still loved by the community. Her Renaissance style art was covered up with green paint in the auditorium, perhaps because it needed repair and the owners didn’t have the desire or money to restore it.

Fortunately it was not allowed to go “beyond repair.” In 1976, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by its owner, Will Conner, who probably wanted to protect the building. This property was bought by the city of Tacoma in 1978. It was closed to undergo its first restoration and renovation and opened again in 1983. It became part of The Broadway Center of the Arts Organization.

Other musical and drama groups from the community, as well as traveling play musical productions, were scheduled for audiences. It became the center of cultural arts, being the biggest local theatre, with over 1000 seats available.

Throughout the years, several other restoration and renovation projects were finished.

The Pantages Theatre began to make a hefty profit, which helped to pay for all the expensive restorations and renovations. In addition to everything else it became an important economic anchor for this section of Tacoma.

The current round of restoration/renovation/tech improvements started in the Spring of 2016. The Theatre was closed to complete complicated safety projects from May of 2018 to 2019. The ambitious project fixed issues and enabled the theatre to showcase bigger productions and shows.




People who spend their money, time and energy acquiring prized possessions and relationships, and then wind up losing them, sometimes come back in their afterlives and enjoy them as best they can in spirit form.

A well-to-do woman, Klondike Kate Rockwell, spent every last dime of her fortune helping her lover Alexander Pantages build thd Tacoma Pantages Theater because she truly loved him, and was excited to be a substantial contributor in building such a grand theatre. Like Alexander, she loved it.

However, the love wasn’t mutual. Alexander dumped her, breaking her heart. His interest in another mistress became compelling. Not only was Kate not paid back the huge amount of money she gave him, but she was not allowed to share in any of the theatre’s profits. Kate may not have put her expectations to be paid back in writing, and she assumed she would get her investment back. She loved the theater but didn’t get to enjoy it. She died penniless, still yearning for Alexander.

Years later, Alexander Pantages was falsely accused by a female employee of raping her. This employee was paid by Joseph Kennedy because Alexander refused to sell his theaters to him. There was no evidence he committed the crime, and her story didn’t hold up at the end of the second trial.

Alexander was finally declared innocent, but he was forced to sell his theaters in order to pay his huge legal bill for two trials. He sold some of his theaters to Joe Kennedy, at a price lower than Joe’s first offer. While Alexander had enough to live on in a comfortable retirement with his family, he had to give up his beloved theaters.

Performers who still yearn to perform on stage or were stopped by life circumstances sometimes come back in the afterlife to the theater they enjoyed.

A singer still yearns to perform, not letting the fact that she is dead stop her. People who really enjoyed their work in this world, sometimes continue after they pass, trying not to let the reality of being in spirit form get in the way. Apparently, the Pantages Theatre has a dedicated spectral employee from the past who isn’t on the payroll.

Restoration of an older structure can draw in and activate spirits who have a past connection to the place and love the improvements. All the spirits who visit and reside here are pleased that The Pantages is dong so well and has been made beautiful again.



The Entity of a former Usher

He is described as a short stocky man with blurred facial features, wearing a dark usher’s coat and pants.

When patrons arrive late with reserved seating, they are guided to their seat by an unseen presence who stops them with a cold spot at the right row. Some patrons say that they are guided by the cold gentle touch of their shoulders or or elbows.

The Female entity; dressed in a vaudeville-era outfit

She catches the eye of the living by appearing in the balcony. After an eye to eye experience that lasts only a moment, she fades from the balcony.

She enjoys singing Italian ballads for the living, especially those who see her.

The Entity of Alexander Pantages and his rejected lover, Klondike Kate.

Both Entities have been seen in various places in the Pantages Theater, going about their business and enjoying the interior and its entertainment.

Alexander splits his time between The Pantages Theater in Hollywood, and his Tacoma Pantages theater, both of which have big musicals and other live entertainment booked.

Klondike Kate is there most of the time, where she can enjoy the productions and movies presented and where she can see Alexander when he visits.


Yes Indeed! Hard evidence has backed up the reported personal experiences of the female spirit who sings classic Italian opera in the balcony. While no hard evidence of the other spirits has been made public, the many sightings and personal experiences reported strongly suggest they are indeed there, enjoying the theatre.

Many patrons and staff have experienced the manifestations mentioned above. The spirits make themselves known to the living.

Paranormal Washington caught an EVP of a woman singing in Italian, which backs up eyewitness accounts.



901 Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98402

The Pantages Theater is located in the heart of old downtown Tacoma on Broadway, at the end of a block formed by Commerce Street, Ninth Street, and Broadway Plaza, the traditional business district.



  • Sias, Patricia A., Pantages Theatre, Jones Building, 76001902; United States Department off the Interior, National Park Service; National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form; Washington D.C., November 2, 1976
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Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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