Music Box Theatre

517 SW 9th Avenue,
Portland, OR 97205

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Evergreen State Amusement Corp.

Architects: John Bennes, Herman Herzog

Previous Names: Peoples Theatre, Alder Theatre

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

Peoples Theatre, Portland OR in 1911 - Interior

The Peoples Theatre opened in 1911. In 1918 it was equipped with a Kimball 3 manual 22 ranks organ. That instrument was removed to be installed in a Portland area church. In 1923 a Wurlitzer 2 manual 9 ranks organ was installed. The theatre was extensively rebuilt in 1929 to the plans of architects John Bennes and Herman Herzog and reopened as the Alder Theatre.

Around 1935, it was renamed Music Box Theatre, which operated into the 1950’s. The Wurlitzer organ was sold to William Hansen in 1950 who installed in his home. It was later transferred to the Masonic Temple.

Contributed by Louise-Annette Burgess

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm

The aka should be Alder Theatre, like the tree the street was probably named after, not Adler.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

The 1982 photo depicts the last Music Box Theatre in Portland, located on Broadway next door to the Fox Theatre. Gary Lacher and Steve Stone’s book “Theaters of Portland” says that there were six Portland theaters called the Music Box. I don’t think it has a page at Cinema Treasures yet.

jespdx on March 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm

The address listed is wrong. The Music Box was on Broadway at the corner of Yamhill street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 13, 2010 at 11:58 pm

The address above is correct for an earlier Music Box, which operated in the Alder Street location from 1935 and probably through the 1950s. The Music Box on Broadway at Yamhill, which opened in late 1959 or early 1960, doesn’t yet have a page at Cinema Treasures.

Also here’s a correction to my comment of April 9, 2009. The last paragraph says that I thought the photo at the PSTOS web site was of Seattle, not Portland, but I now think it is indeed Portland, and it depicts an even earlier Music Box Theatre, listed at Cinema Treasures under its later name, the Liberty Theatre. That house was most likely the Music Box from the late 1920s until 1935, when the name was moved to this house, the former Alder Theatre.

Douglas on June 16, 2010 at 2:59 am

It has been a long time since the error and confusion here has been identified. This is not the later Music Box Theatre, as corroborated by many above. Is there a way that another entry can be made for the later Music Box?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

The photo currently displayed on this page depicts the later Music Box Theatre on Broadway, not the Music Box Theatre on Alder Street.

The November 2, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News had an article about the remodeling of the Peoples Theatre and its reopening as the Alder Theatre. The People’s Theatre opened in 1911, and was owned by J. J. Parker. The 1929 rebuilding was extensive, involving the complete reconstruction of the balcony in order to remove columns on the first floor, and the moving of the entrance from the front of the building to the corner of 9th and Alder.

The rebuilding project was designed by the architectural firm of Bennes & Herzog, the same firm that designed the Hollywood Theatre.

HowardBHaas on February 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

Joe, thanks, the wrong photo has been removed as I sent in the request to the site masters.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

The People’s Theatre, Portland Oregan is mentioned in Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918, page 714, saying the theatre “will have a new organ, a real one this time, with lots of reeds and everything that a first-class organ should have. It is a Robert-Morton instrument and is being built and installed by the American Foto-Player Company.”

DavidZornig on June 18, 2019 at 11:14 pm

Pipe organ history of the Alder/Peoples/Music Box Theatre.

DMarsh on February 19, 2024 at 12:42 pm

The address for this theater is incorrect. The historic address of the Peoples Theatre (later Music Box) was 127 West Park. In Portland’s “Great Renumbering,” (1930-32) that became 517 SW 9th. This is the location of the Peoples under its various incarnations.

Any historic document listing an address in Portland pre-1932 is likely incorrect. You may find the corresponding modern address at .

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.