Woodland Theater

549 Park Street,
Woodland, WA 98674

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Contributed by Kimberley Smith

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

TKHutchinson
TKHutchinson on May 18, 2009 at 2:39 am

The Woodland Theatre was built circa 1926. I am not sure who built it but one story had it that a group of local businesspeople felt that the town needed a modern theatre, and went together to build it. By the mid 1930s the theatre was owned and operated by Nate Rhodes, who continued to operate the theatre until the late 1950s.
Rhodes then rented the theatre out to a parade of operators, none of which lasted very long, until he finally sold the building in 1969.

The auditorium was nearly square. Originally built for silent movies, the walls were painted plaster. When sound was installed (the only Crockett sound system I have ever seen; a Seattle manufactured knock-off of Western Electric) the interior was covered with ten-test board, to reduce the echo. There was no organ, stage or orchestra pit; it was designed only for movies.

Rhodes modernized the theatre in the mid 1950s, adding cinemascope, magnetic stereo sound, a new entrance, and an ajoining soda fountain.

Later operators included Lee Brown (a local schoolteacher), Bob Rising (from Portland), Gordon Back (a projectionist from Vancouver, Wa), Tom Hutchinson (who operated the theatre as a high school senior), and Gene Manring (who eventually turned the building into an auction house).

queenbytka
queenbytka on July 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm

My dad, Lee Brown, was one of the above. I remember that theater so clearly. We were the “janitors” who cleaned it up! I was only around 6 but remember having the freedom to run into the projection booth whenever I wanted to and visit with my dad. It was magic for a child. :) I drove past it yesterday and it sure looks sad now. Do you know if anyone has any pictures of the theater from the early 60’s?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm

The Woodland Theatre building is located at 549 Park Street. LoopNet has a recent street view. At some point the theater entrance was moved from the center of the front, which has a pediment, to an adjacent storefront, but the old marquee was left in place.

The only vintage decorations left on the facade are a few medallions and a pair of thin, engaged Solomonic columns in a false portico on the second floor, but it looks like it might have been a very pretty little building at one time, perhaps of Spanish or Italian Renaissance style.

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