Meadowbrook History: The Brook, Snoqualmie Valley’s First ‘Talkie’ Movie Theater

At the corner of Park Street and Meadowbrook Way (near Mount Si High School and Snoqualmie Elementary) once sat some Snoqualmie Valley film history: The Brook Theater – about 100 years ago it was part of the small, thriving town of Meadowbrook

According to Valley Historian Dave Battey, The Brook was the key draw for the new town of Meadowbrook when it was created in 1923. When ‘Talkies’ came to movie theaters just as the Great Depression hit, The Brook was the first theater to bring movies with sound to the Snoqualmie Valley.

The shell of the nearly century-old Brook building was demolished in in the summer of 2015 as the property owners prepared to sell. The land is still sitting vacant, though.

The town of Meadowbrook was eventually annexed into the City of Snoqualmie in 1952.  It was established by A. W. Pratt and his wife attracted businesses to compete with the huge (for the times) Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company store. The new town also provided homes for mill employees who wanted to grow equity rather than pay rent to the company.

Meadowbrook grew to have several clothing stores, a sheet-metal fabrication facility, a grocery store or two, a meat market, a drug store, at least two taverns, a jewelry store, a dentist office, a mortuary and hotel. The Horace K. Allman Drug Store used to sit next  to the movie theater and there is now even an Allman street on Snoqualmie Ridge.

The Brook Theater History

Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Cochrane and their Cochrane Moving Picture Company invested $20,000 and opened The Brook Theater on Saturday, September 15, 1923, with seating 440, including 38 loges (small, separated seating area) with cushioned seats and backs in the rear of the theater.

The first movie ever shown at The Brook was The Spoilers, depicting life in Alaska after gold was discovered in the early 1890’s. General admission was 15 cents and 30 cents, with loges running 20 cents and 40 cents.

In 1929, the Cochranes upgraded the theater and brought state of the art ‘talkies’ to the Valley, but the depression hit the Snoqualmie Valley hard.

According to the Snoqualmie Valley History Magazine, the Cochranes sold The Brook in the 1940’s and the new owner kept the doors open until the mid 1960’s.

[Thank you to Dave Battey and the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum for helping with our history articles.]

The old Brook theater building be demolished in 2015.

Comments

  1. Stephen Kangas says

    Coincidentally, just this past Saturday I went on a ghost walk through Snoqualmie and the old Meadowbrook town, led by Bob Antone and his wife Laura (“Snoqualmie Haunted Walking Tour”). We heard about the paranormal activity that occurred at that old movie theater in Meadowbrook (along with a couple other more active sites still standing in Meadowbrook). We also heard about the ghost at the first silent film theater, located where Sigillo Cellars is today. Bob and Laura of North Bend did their first ghost tour in North Bend a little while ago, and there has been so much demand that they have established a new business “Hidden Northwest Tours” (historical, paranormal, and Sasquatch tours in various locations throughout WA). A lot of fun, very educational; I recommend their tours.

    • Thank you Stephen! Thanks for including us. We actually wrote a book about the subject! If interested, “The Odd Man Up” is available through Amazon Kindle and includes the secret history of Meadowbrook. It’s written by long time locals to the area; namely us!
      Our storytelling traditions and collection of tales go back many years now. Thanks so much for the acknowledgement!
      – Bob and Laura Antone
      Hidden Northwest Tours
      425 221 8747

Speak Your Mind

*

%d bloggers like this: