circa 1910 – 1929
215 E St. (estimated)
Sanborn Fire insurance maps only exist for North Powder from 1910 and 1930. The Bungalow theater never appears on any of them, indicating that it did not exist long enough to be included in the surveys. As such, an exact location of the Bungalow Theater cannot be easily determined. It is likely that it was located in the central downtown area, near city hall, the post office, and several other businesses. One possibility is the Dance Hall on 2nd and D street.
Owners/managers: J.C. Weskel, Paul Dahlstrom (1921), Haynes and N.G. Olson (1923-1929)
Interestingly, during the theater’s short history it passed hands through several managers. We don’t have specific information about the theater’s profitability, but it is possible that each manager struggled to capitalize on North Bend’s small population and make the theater financially viable.
- Back to God’s Country
- The Terror
- Overland Red
- Camping Out
The Bungalow theater only promoted itself within the small community. It regularly placed advertisements within the local newspaper, North Powder News. These advertisements informed readers of upcoming shows, including information about the studio, actors that were included, and a brief plot synopsis.
The University of Oregon Libraries hold microfilm copies of North Powder News from 1917-1938, which may contain further information about the theater’s promotional strategies, as well as its general history.
In July of 1929, the Bungalow theater was wired to exhibit motion pictures with sound. Olson bragged that his theater was the only small-town theater to be equipped for talkies. It is unlikely that this statement is entirely true, and this is likely a bit of self-promotion. However it is certainly noteworthy that as early as 1929 a town as small as North Powder was equipped for sound exhibition.
Tragically, it was only later that same year that the Bungalow theater was destroyed in a fire. The total value of all the theater equipment was $10,000 ($144,250.87 in 2018 dollars). This information appeared the the nationally published Motion Picture News, which incorrectly stated that the Bungalow was located in La Grande instead of North Powder. This is likely due to La Grande’s prominence as a major city along Eastern Oregon’s railroads, whereas North Powder would be less likely to be known by a national publisher.
However, other trade journals such as The Film Daily correctly list the Bungalow Theater’s location in North Powder. After the theater burned down, the owners chose to keep it permanently closed. In 2018, there remains zero movie theaters in North Powder. Residents’ only option for theater exhibition is to drive to either La Grande or Baker City.