The 5th Avenue Theatre celebrated its grand opening on September 24, 1926 and lived up to its promise as a magnificent showplace. Under the guidance of architect Robert C. Reamer and interior designer Gustav F. Liljestrom, the ornate interior was modeled after three of Imperial China's architectural achievements: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heavenly Peace, and the Summer Palace. The theatre was also considered a technical marvel at the time, thanks to its state-of-the-art sound, lighting and ventilation systems.Following the grand opening, The 5th served as a venue for vaudeville, then operated as a movie palace until the 1970s. Facing severe financial difficulties, The 5th was forced to close its doors in 1978. Fortunately, 43 business leaders banded together in 1979 and underwrote a $2.6 million loan to save this extraordinary cultural treasure. June 16, 1980 marked the theatre's rebirth and a new chapter in Seattle's arts community. Now a historic landmark, The 5th continues to thrive with the assistance of many generous donors and volunteers.