Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay OR (6 photos).

Considered by many to be the crown jewel of Coos Bay’s architectural legacy, the Egyptian Theatre dates back to 1925, at the height of the global Egyptian Revival architecture craze inspired by the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb three years earlier.

Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles is probably the best known of these buildings, but the Egyptian Theatre of Coos Bay seats 700 people in a city whose population was under 5,000 at the time it was built, and didn’t top 10,000 for decades since.

Considering the rural character of Oregon’s coastline, this state of the art theater must have been the greatest architectural attraction within hundreds of miles for generations of coastal, and even inland, Oregonians.

The interior is lavishly gilded and decorated with hieroglyphics and stylized Egyptian art motifs that have not changed since 1925, lending the venue a spellbindingly retroactive feel. The original Wurlitzer organ (from the time of silent movies) still sits in the theatre and remains functional.

The theatre functioned continuously as a movie house until 2005, when increasing competition from nearby multiplexes finally led to its shuttering. Local preservationists worked to save the theatre from demolition or massive remodeling, and had the structure added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2010. In 2014, the Egyptian Theatre of Coos Bay reopened as a venue for special screenings and events.

IMG_5303
Marquee of Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theatre on Intersate 101, with yellow reader board advertising its Wurlitzer organ.
IMG_5304
Egyptian Theatre parking lot, with period appropriate signage.
IMG_5302
Egyptian Theatre marquee, looking north up I-101S.
IMG_5301
Lobby entry of Egyptian Theatre.
IMG_5300
Closeup of door handle.
IMG_5293
Even closer up.

Leave a Reply