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The Leschi Pavilion

This magnificent building was once located in Leschi Park; it was a dance pavilion/casino and a popular weekend destination for city dwellers seeking recreation. It was built in 1890 and lasted 40 years.

The casino was free to enter, and it had the largest dance floor in Seattle at that time. A dance did cost three cents! It was far more expensive to enter the theater: 25 cents, but it could hold 4,000 people. There were vaudeville shows and concerts. Information is limited about the activities, but it was common to build an interesting destination point at the end of a cable car or streetcar line to encourage residential development along the way.

Maintenance costs were high, and the city wanted to tear it down, but it remained long past its prime due to its popularity. One memorable event was the appearance of Sarah Bernhardt, the famous French actor, at the Pavilion. Her performance was diverted to the Pavilion when the downtown theater she was supposed to perform in was undergoing some renovations.

(The limited information here was taken from Wade Vaughn’s Seattle–Leschi Diary and an article on “comfort station” in Leschi Park from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods on historical sites.)


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