Known Years of Operation

Jun 15, 1907 - Dec 1, 1907

Number of Seats



Free Thomas, R.L. Edwards

Additional Facts

  • Became the Orpheum in 1908

The Little Gem opened in June 1907 in a small storefront space. Owner/manager Free Thomas moved from Denver to start the theater, and he spent $600 to renovate the space. Even so, it was a cramped space for a theater. An enlargement in October 1907 brought up the seating capacity to just 100 seats. A new manager, Mr. Edwards, also took over at that time.

Opening of the Little Gem, 1907
Morning Register, June 6, 1907, p. 5.
New management at the Little Gem, 1907
Eugene Guard, Sept. 17, 1907, p. 8.


Little Gem enlarged, 1907
Eugene Guard, Oct. 28, 1907, p. 8.
Ad for the Little Gem, 1908
Eugene Guard, July 3, 1907, p. 6.


The Little Gem's programming focused on moving pictures and illustrated songs, and did not seem to incorporate much else in the way of vaudeville, live music, or theatrical performance during its five months of business. Among the films shown were The Great Train Robbery (1904) and Alice in Wonderland (1903).

Program at the Little Gem, 1907
Eugene Guard, June 6, 1907, p. 6.

The Little Gem management engaged in several creative promotional schemes, including voting for "the most popular young lady" who would win a gold locket and chain, giveaways of candy and firecrackers to children, and cross-promotions with a nearby business for discount tickets.

Firecrackers for kids at the Little Gem, 1907
Eugene Guard, June 24, 1907, p. 6.
Little Gem ad, 1907
Eugene Guard, Oct. 24, 1907, p. 8.

The last mention of the Little Gem appeared in the local newspaper on November 30, 1907, and by early January news appeared of a new theater opening in the same space: the Orpheum.