Location & Contact:
191 High St NE
Salem, OR 97301
The Historic Grand Theater is the oldest remaining theater in Salem
The Grand Theater is located on the ground floor of the historic building known as Odd Fellows Chemeketa Lodge #1 (IOOF), the first Odd Fellows lodge chartered in the Northwest. During the 19th century IOOF lodges had more members than any fraternal organization in America.
The goals of the IOOF are to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan. Odd Fellows lodges also provided lending libraries across America (predating Andrew Carnegie's gift of free community libraries), and a retirement system for their members. Today, in almost any large or small town in America, you can find the local IOOF lodge-usually in the center of downtown-showing their importance in local communities.
The Historic Grand Theater is located at 191 High Street NE, Salem, Oregon, one of downtown's most prominent buildings. The building was dedicated in 1900 and remained an active Odd Fellows Lodge until 1996, when the building was sold and the remaining members built a new lodge in West Salem.
The Historic Grand Theater is the oldest remaining theater in Salem, predating the Elsinore Theater by 26 years. Although the Grand Theater does not possess the highly decorated decor of the Victorian era, the theater cannot be matched for it's acoustical excellence and intimate size. When the building was dedicated in 1900 it was the first building in Oregon's capital city built with electric lighting and predated the introduction of the first automobile to Salem.
The Grand Theater began it's history as the Grand Opera House, with the increased community interest in vaudeville and other performing arts it was later renamed the Grand Theater. During the depression live theater was abandoned in favor of movies.
Except for a short revival by the Salem Theater of the Performing Arts as a community playhouse, and to host Portland Wrestling in the 1980's, the Grand Theater has sat empty and forgotten until new owners began renovation of the entire building in 2002.
Today the Grand Theater hosts many types of community events such as music concerts, wedding ceremonies, lectures, church services and movies.
The theater auditorium has new seating, ADA restrooms and access, state of the art sound system, light board, new stage curtains and a professional lighting system. In 2008, the Friends of the Grand Theater board was formed and became a federally recognized non-profit organization.
The mission of the Friends of the Historic Grand Theater is "to make a positive difference in the lives of Oregon citizens by providing quality cultural and educational entertainment, and to preserve the Grand Theater as an important historic asset which will enhance community pride, contribute to the arts, and history tourism ".