Known Years of Operation

Jan 25, 1923 - May 22, 1959

Number of Seats



Owner - D. T. Carmody, Mgr - Byron A Stover

Additional Facts

  • Vaudeville, motion picture, play theater, meeting hall, and speech hall
  • Total Cost of Construction: $50,000 (CPI Inflation Calculation estimates $767,770 in 2020)
Capitol Theater Grand Opening, 1923 (Cinema Treasures)
Capitol Theater Grand Opening, 1923 (Cinema Treasures)

The Capitol Theater, on the corner of Wall and Newport first opened its doors on January 24th, 1923. Originally, the grand opening was set for the week of Christmas, which was about a month and a half prior, however, due to weather and other reasons the date kept getting pushed about a month and a half further. (1 & 2)

During its first years, the theater contained a Wurlitzer organ, two Simplex projectors, a fireproof projecting room, heating and air conditioning. The venue represented an overall investment of more than $50,000, which would now be worth more than $767,770 according to the CPI Inflation Calculator. (3)

On opening night, the Capitol Theater was a full house and hundreds of patrons were turned away due to maximum capacity seating, which amounted to 642. Owner, D. Carmody disclosed that the theater was "conceived, built and financed by local citizens" in Bend. (4)

Manager, Claude Kelley signed a contract with the Famous Players Lasky corporation for Paramount releases in 1923. (5)

Following Kelley, new manager, Byron Stover, secured an agreement with the International News Service to screen news pictures twice a week. The pictures focused on news events of the week and were sent straight from Portland. (6)

In September of 1924, a fire started in the basement when cord wood was placed too close to the furnace. The fire was contained, however, most damage was to The Pine Tree, which was a small concessions stand within the venue, as well as the basement. According to Carmody, costs didn't exceed more than a few hundred dollars. (7)

The Capitol tried to incorporate a concessions stand called The Pine Tree, which lasted about a year and a half, but deemed it unsuccessful. Instead, they renovated it into a new office space. (8)

Due to cold weather, the theater would occasionally close down until the furnace could offset the chilling temperatures. (9)

For renovation and the addition of sound equipment, the theater closed down for a month and reopened in September of 1935. (10) A year and a half later, the theater began installing a mirrorphonic sound system, replacing the former sound equipment that produced "flat sounds." (11)

In December of 1939, an employee was injured when attempting to put Christmas decorations on the Capitol marquee that was located on top of the roof, in front of the theater. The marquee gave way, hurling the worker to the sidewalk below, giving him minor injuries. Fire Chief, Tom Carlon disclaimed that the high winds continuously weakened the structure. This caused a need for an overall inspection of street marquees in downtown Bend to ensure that they are safe before the snowfall season hit, which can add tremendous amounts of weight on buildings and structures. (12)

An armed robber held up a Capitol cashier and escaped with about $400 in change. This occurred during a Sunday evening show. The robber disguised himself by wearing tape over his face and bleed by a nearby parked getaway car. (13)

The theater was demolished to make way for new structures in May of 1959. The marquee was removed first and saved. (14)

Capitol Theater (
Capitol Theater Removes Marquee - (


Capitol Theater "Lost Squadron" 1932 (
Capitol Theater for "Lost Squadron Premiere" 1932 (Cinema Treasures)

For the premiere of "Lost Squadron" in 1932, The Capitol built a "crashed plane" exhibit to promote the showing of the film. 

Works Cited


    1. "Kelley Movie Show Manager" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 6. no. 138, 15 Nov. 1922, pp 1.


    2. "Theater to Open After New Years" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 7 no. 14, 21 Dec. 1922, pp 1.


    3. "New Theater Will Open Doors to Public Tomorrow Evening" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 12 no. 41, 24 Jan. 1923 pp 1.


    4. "Capacity House Appreciative When New Theater is Opened" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 12 no. 48, 26 Jan. 1923 pp 1.


    5. "Capitol Contracts Paramount Service" The Bend Bulletin, vol.12 no. 95, 28 Mar. 1923, pp 4.


    6. "Gets New Service for the Capitol" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 13 no. 22, 30 Jun. 1923, pp 2.


    7. "Loss is Slight at Night Fire" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 15 no. 89, 19 Sep. 1924, pp 2.


    8. "Capitol Theater Adding Greater Office Space" The Bend Bulletin, vol. 16 no. 96, 28 Mar. 1925, pp 5.


    9. “Capitol Theater Reopened Today” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 23 no. 58, 09 Feb. 1929, pp 2.


    10. “New Capitol Theater Opens Doors Today” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 36 no. 88, 18 Sep. 1935 pp 5.


    11. “Capitol Theater Adds Equipment” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 39 no. 124, 30 Apr. 1937 pp 5.


    12. “Street Marquees to Be Inspected” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 45 no. 10, 16 Dec. 1939 pp 1.


    13. “Local Theater is Held Up by Armed Robber” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 47 no. 85, 14 Sep. 1941 pp 1.


    14. “Last Run at The Capitol” The Bend Bulletin, vol. 56 no. 142, 22 May, 1959 pp 1.