The iconic Tower Theatre defines the heart of Bend
History of the Tower Theatre
Located at 835 NW Wall Street in downtown Bend, the Tower Theatre was built in 1940 in just three short months, employing double shifts of workers to complete the beautiful Art Deco Moderne project. A 40-foot tower rises above the building, elevating the structure 78 feet above street level. Over 1,200 feet of neon tubes of green and gold outline the building façade, marquee, ticket booth and entrance. For nearly sixty years, the Tower served as a movie house with the occasional staging of local entertainment and events.
With the advent of multiplex theaters, the Tower slowly fell into disrepair and closed in 1996. A grassroots community group conceived of restoring the Tower as a performing arts and education center, and ultimately raised $4.2 million to renovate the historic building, which re-opened in January 2004.
New Life as Performing Arts Center
Now functioning as a cultural entertainment venue, the richly-appointed Tower Theatre has an expanded interior space (including a basement to accommodate an orchestra pit), an expanded lobby area, and new box seats for 465 patrons. Behind the scenes, the Tower features state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment, a video projection system, and a full 35mm film projection system.
The Tower Theatre Foundation, supported by more than 100 volunteers, is a designated not-for-profit corporation. The Foundation runs the theater, providing a variety of cultural and entertainment programs, while making the facility available for use by nonprofit organizations and businesses. Visit www.towertheatre.org for more information.
Photos courtesy of Phil Wise.