B. Marcus Priteca (1881-1971)
B. Marcus Priteca was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 23, 1881. He graduated from George Watson College in 1904 and Edinburgh University in 1907. He later matriculated at the Royal College of Art. He completed his architectural apprenticeship under Robert MacFarlane Cameron in Edinburgh before coming to the United States.
In July 1909 Priteca settled in Seattle, where he immediately went to work as an architect. In 1910 he met Alexander Pantages, a Seattle resident and theater owner, for whom he subsequently designed theaters throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1922, Priteca had designed theaters in Memphis, Kansas City, Fort Worth, and Salt Lake City. He remained in Los Angeles until 1929, when he returned to Seattle.
Known during his career as the Pacific Northwest's leading architect, Priteca designed over 150 theaters for four different theater chain clients. A partial listing of his early work on the West Coast includes the Coliseum (1916) in Seattle, the Pantages (1918) in Tacoma, the Pantages (1920) in downtown Los Angeles, and the exotic Pantages (1928, shown on right) in Fresno. Known as the Warnor's today, the old Fresno Pantages has the most elaborate ornamentation of any building in Fresno and is heavily embellished in an eclectic mixture of Classical and Spanish motifs.
After his return to Seattle, Priteca continued to be a leading designer of film theaters for the next decade. Among his later theaters were the Paramount (1929) in Seattle, the Pantages (1929) in Hollywood, and the Admiral (1938) in West Seattle. Well into the 1960s Priteca produced important buildings in the Seattle area, including his Temple de Hirsch Sanctuary (1960). B. Marcus Priteca died on October 1, 1971.
©2001John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.