Elsinore Theatre Timeline
1926: The Elsinore Theatre opens its doors as the
“largest and most lavish theatre between Portland and San
Francisco.” The Tudor Gothic-style theater hosts
vaudeville-style stage shows and silent films. The opening May
28, 1926, features the silent film “The Volga Boatman.” The
furnishings include a Gobelin tapestry woven in 1676.
1929: The Elsinore converts to sound films, and the
mezzanine openings overlooking the lobby are blocked with
soundproofing material. George B. Guthrie, owner, operator and
builder, leases the theatre to Fox Theaters.
1930s: The Mickey Mouse Club, also known as Zollie’s
Gang, draws crowds of young people for a program of live
entertainment, cartoons and prizes.
1931: Guthrie leases the theatre to Warner Bros.
Theaters, a lease continuing through 1951.
1951: Foreman Bros. leases the theatre, buying it in
1954. Subsequent owners included Tom Moyer’s Luxury Theatres and
Act III Theatres.
1980: Concerned citizens form a nonprofit corporation to
“combat community deterioration and secure community
facilities,” including the Elsinore, which is now a movie
1986: Preliminary restoration is completed, including new
front doors and a marquee, and efforts to save the Elsinore are
1992: The theater is purchased by a nonprofit group,
Stage Inc., or Salem Theatre-Auditorium Group Enterprises, for
$300,000, with the help of a $400,000 purchase and remodeling
grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust.
1993: The theater reopens in October for rental use after
its first closure in its history for repairs and limited
1994: The Elsinore Theatre is put on the National
Register of Historic Places.
1997-98: The Elsinore season includes actor Hal Holbrook
and Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winner jazz musician and composer
1998-99: The Ballet Stars of Moscow and singers Marilyn
McCoo and Billy Davis are part of the season.
1999-2000: Imago Mask Ensemble, Western Opera Theatre,
Masters of the Steel String Guitar, the Moscow Chamber
Orchestra, the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival on Tour and
Gregory Peck appear in the season.
2000: A Feb. 19 appearance by legendary actor Gregory
Peck becomes an international event when Peck says it is his
last such appearance.
May 2001: The Elsinore celebrates its 75th anniversary on
May 26 in the midst of its first sold-out season as a presenter,
showcasing talent that ranges from Broadway entertainer and
actress Bernadette Peters to actor James Earl Jones.
2002: “The Return to Grandeur” project goes public, with
$1.75 million raised in the $2.5 million campaign. Wynton
Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and blues artist
Bonnie Raitt appear in special events, and violinist Itzhak
Perlman brings international stature to the Elsinore with an
exclusive Oregon recital.
Summer 2002: The theatre is closed for the first phase of
restoration, which involved the lobby, the basement under the
lobby, the facade and the marquee, or canopy and the 12 stained
glass windows. The “Romeo and Juliet” mural in the lobby are
Oct. 5, 2002: The Elsinore celebrated its 10th
anniversary as a community theatre and the completion of the
first phase of renovation with a grand re-opening, coinciding
with the start of the 2002-2003 season and a performance by the
New Old Time Chautauqua.
Summer 2003: The theatre closed for the second phase of
restoration, with the focus on the stage with new curtains, new
lights, a new sound system. A new heating and cooling system
Summer 2004: The theatre closed for the third phase of
restoration with the focus on the Lobby, the performer dressing
rooms and the interior of the Auditorium.
October 2004: The theatre reopens upon completion of the third
phase of renovation and expands its performance season in
addition to developing partnerships with local performing arts
May 2006: The Theatre will
celebrate its 80th anniversary.
Contact the Theatre at 503-375-3574 to
schedule group tours (15 or more people) or