Rogue Theater Brightens Grants Pass, Ore., During Great Depression

Jan 31, 2014

 At a time when Grants Pass and the country as a whole was gripped by the Great Depression, the Grants Pass Entertainment Co. cheered up Grants Pass by commissioning the Rogue Theatre.

 Built in the 1930's, the Rogue Theatre was an architectural marvel, featuring plush silk drapes, wine red opera seats, and a modern sound system. Architect Robert Keeney brought the community a level of entertainment unavailable anywhere else in the valley. The Rogue soon became a choice theater for the surrounding community, flourishing through the 1950s.  The Rogue often ran first-run popular films, offering World War II veterans free admission.   The theater fell on hard times in the early 1970s, losing customers to home television sets and newer movie theaters.  Losing the rights to first showings, and failing to upgrade its equipment, the Rogue shut down in 1999. Later, the community formed the nonprofit Rogue Productions LLC that retrofitted and reopened the Rogue as a regional performing arts center.

 Sources: "Rogue Theater Opens to Enthusiastic Crowds." Grants Pass (Ore.) Bulletin 11 Nov. 1938. Peterson, Tom. "The last picture show--the Rogue closes after 61 years of fun." Grants Pass Daily Courier. 4 Jan. 2000.