Dreamland (Eugene)

Dreamland Theatre


537 Willamette St., Eugene, Oregon (pre-1913 address*)

Hotel Smeede, 525-527 Willamette St., Eugene, c1912

525-545 Willamette St., Eugene, 1912. Digital Sanborn Maps

Number of seats: 200

Owners/managers: Martha E. Watson

*The street numbering system in Eugene changed in 1913. Thus, some of the theaters have addresses that do not conform to contemporary locations, or have two different addresses, although they stayed in the same physical location.

Mrs. Watson was the sole woman in the local Eugene-Springfield movie business during this time. She was a widow with four children to support. Fortunately, she was well off enough to simultaneously run the Dreamland and the Electric, and later the Folly and the Oregon theaters in Eugene. She owned several properties in Lane County, and was frequently mentioned in the society pages of the local newspaper. She became an active member of the Eugene Equal Suffrage League in 1912.

Little is known about the movies that played at the Dreamland, except for scant information in the Eugene Daily Guard. “Mary, Queen of Scots” played in December 1908, and “Drink,” (“film d’art”) based on the Emile Zola novel, played in November 1909. The Dreamland boasted of having a “reginaphone” for sound accompaniment in the theater, as well as “perfect” ventilation thanks to an airshaft in the ceiling.

In September 1909, Mrs. Watson had begun construction on a new brick building a few blocks south on Willamette to house her new movie theater venture, the Folly. By April of 1910, the Dreamland’s building was offered for rent, with part of the space soon to be occupied by a cigar store (see the Sanborn Map above).

Eugene Daily Guard, 11 Dec. 1908, p. 12
Eugene Daily Guard, 31 Aug. 1909, p. 8
Eugene Daily Guard, 2 Nov. 1909, p. 8

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