2511 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,
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Architects: Edward A. Miller
Previous Names: Graeper's Egyptian Theater
The 1,200-seat Egyptian Theater was built in 1924 for William Graeper. It opened on September 27, 1924 with Jack Holt in “Wanderer of the Wasteland”. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 8 ranks organ which was opened by organist Florence Lawrence. It was used for vaudeville and movies until the 1930’s when it switched to showing movies only. The Egyptian Theater closed in 1962 and was used as a warehouse, later becoming a New Song Community Church.
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Recent comments (view all 9 comments)
Um… the building still exists. I can send in a picture in a couple of weeks. This is the 4th site I’ve seen that says the building is gone. Nope.. it’s still there ^.^
The building still exists and is the New Song Community Church.
The Google Maps picture for the address (SW Corner of MLK Blvd. and Russell) shows the original theater entrance with extensive renovation, but the building is still there.
The Google Maps link above is about a mile off then.
Is THIS the place?
Silicon Sam – that’s it. The church’s main entrance is on the north side of the building, on Russell.
Just down Russell Street is the Wonder Ballroom, a former fraternal organization lodge turned music hall dating to 1914.
September 27th, 1924 grand opening ad has been uploaded here.
Last movie I saw at the Egyptian was, “Steel Helmet”. This was a movie from 1951 and I saw it at the Egyptian shortly thereafter.
Page 97 of Gary Lacher and Steve Stone’s Theatres of Portland features two photos of Graeper’s Egyptian Theatre (Google Books preview.) The text attributes the design of the theater to Portland architect Edward A. Miller.
The year after the Portland Egyptian opened, a very similar Egyptian Theatre opened in Seattle. According to the text of this advertisement for Heywood Wakefield seats in the March 6, 1926, issue of Motion Picture News, the Seattle Egyptian was also designed by E. A. Miller.
If anyone is interested in the history of the Egyptian Theater, I have a large album of pictures and articles left to me by my father, William Graeper, who, along with his father (my Grandfather) also William Graeper, owned the Egyptian Theater until it was sold to New Song Church. I also have a large volume of numerically sequenced Egyptian Theater movie tickets and other memorabilia. Steve Stone has viewed all of the items I have and says I have a real treasure of memories.
Architecturally, the Egyptian Theater set new standards for concrete construction in 1924 and was constructed in record time. The auditorium is all concrete, including the ceiling, which was an engineering wonder for the time.
Please contact me, Steve Graeper at for more information.
The December 6, 1924 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review has this brief article about the opening of the Egyptian Theatre: