Seattle’s Uptown Has A New Name, But A Historic Landmark Shines

WHEN YOU THINK of Lower Queen Anne, what landmarks come to mind? Maybe the Seattle Center; Climate engagement arena; or, of course, the legendary SIFF Cinema Uptown.

Built in 1926 and now home to the Seattle International Film Festival, Uptown remains closed this mid-June afternoon after a 15-month pandemic. Posters of last year’s canceled film festival line the walls, and the marquee directs moviegoers to virtual screenings and classes on the organization’s website at

Beyond the circumstances of the moment (and the depressing brick gray paint job), I turn my attention to some beautiful architectural details of the historic building: the double strip of bricks that outline the facade; the cast-stone ornaments framing the windows; and the cool font type that adorns the triangular marquee, which dates from the 1940s, according to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

In April, Seattle City Council passed a resolution requiring all departments to identify the neighborhood that many still call Lower Queen Anne as Uptown.

I thought I might never get used to the new official name, but now I suspect spending so much time looking at those big UPTOWN letters while doing this sketch might speed up the adjustment.

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