Hines Theatre

118 W. Walnut Street,
Portland, IN 47371

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The Portland Opera House opened in 1885 and seem destined to last 100 years in downtown. While live performers including Harry Houdini and Chico Marx drew crowds, Portland enjoyed films shown there.

When the 35-year old venue was equipped with sound, it became a full-time theatre called the Hines Theatre beginning on May 2, 1930 named after its operator. Unfortunately, after a July 23, 1983 showing of “The Twilight Zone,” a fire ended things for the 98-year old showplace. Worse yet, a projectionist who had been at the Hines Theatre almost since day one died in the blaze.

Locals had to drive to Fort Wayne for movies until the Ritz Theatre came to town.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 24, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Prior to opening the Hines Theatre, Sherman J.Hines had operated at least two other theaters in Portland. The July 2, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Herald reported that Sherman Hines, operator of the Princess Theatre at Portland, had been arrested for snowing movies on Sunday.

The October 14, 1922, issue of The Moving Picture World said that “Sherman Hines has purchased Crystal Theatre, a moving picture house and assumed management.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm

We have the wrong address for the Hines Theatre. It was located on the north side of Walnut Street just east of Commerce Street. These four photos show some distinctive features of the area that are still there. The tower and chimney in the background of the upper left photos are on the back wall of the building that now houses the Ritz Theatre, at Walnut and Meridian Street.

The sign for First National Bank in the lower right photo still exists at the southwest corner of Commerce and Walnut, but now advertises a barbecue restaurant that replaced the bank’s drive-up teller area. Most notably, the ground floor of the building on the northeast corner of Walnut and Commerce survived the 1983 fire and now houses a lawyer’s office. Its distinctive corner column that can be seen in the vintage photo at lower right.

The address of the lawyer’s office is 124 W. Walnut, so the address of the Hines Theatre would have been a few numbers lower, perhaps 118 or 120 W. Walnut.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 9, 2018 at 7:17 pm

An 1897 directory for Portland has several businesses with quarters in the Auditorium block on West Walnut Street, and the only theater listed at Portland in the Cahn guides for over a decade is the Auditorium. That had to be the Opera House.

Cahn guides list the Auditorium as a 1,000-seat, second floor house with a stage 66x32 feet. The theater was probably gutted and converted for a ground floor auditorium when it became a full-time movie house.

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