Egyptian Theater

2511 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,
Portland, OR 97212

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Additional Info

Architects: Edward A. Miller

Functions: Church

Styles: Egyptian

Previous Names: Graeper's Egyptian Theater

Nearby Theaters

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.

Contributed by Bryan / Ken

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

atomicel on July 30, 2007 at 4:55 pm

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 ^.^

varropdx on November 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

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.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on November 22, 2009 at 2:59 am

The Google Maps link above is about a mile off then.

Is THIS the place?

varropdx on November 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

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.

rivest266 on July 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm

September 27th, 1924 grand opening ad has been uploaded here.

Chuey on February 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

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.

graepers on August 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

The December 6, 1924 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review has this brief article about the opening of the Egyptian Theatre:

“New Theatre for Portland, Ore.

“W. E. Graeper’s new Egyptian theatre at Union Avenue and Russell, Portland, Ore., was opened to the public on September 27. It is a beautiful house, Egyptian to the smallest detail, and beautiful in the extreme. There were exhibitors and film men present from all over the Northwest, to congratulate Mr. Graeper. Although the house is in a suburban district, it seats 1,200 people and no expense was spared to make it the finest house this side of Los Angeles. Mr. Graeper arranged an attractive prologue for ‘Wanderers of the Wasteland’, his opening attraction. A short program, including an address by Alayor Baker, a soprano solo and a welcome by the management, were given. Following the public showings a trade screening of ‘Barbara Frietchie’ was given for the film men present. Complete contracts for carpets, drapes, furnishings, lighting effects, and Heywood- Wakefield opera chairs were handled by B. F. Shearer, Inc., of Seattle. Mr. Graeper is a Shriner, and his temple honored him during the evening performance by marching to the house in full regalia. The Egyptian is one of the group known as the Multnomah Theatres, consisting of: the Alhambra, Bob White, Gay, Multnomah, Tivoli and Graeper’s Egyptian.”

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