Former Lake County Circuit Court Judge Rob Nichols was in vacation in Arizona recently when he struck up a conversation with someone wearing an Oregon State Beavers shirt. After mentioning Lakeview and the Alger Theater the person said they were related to the original architect of the Alger Theater and had many drawings and plans related to its construction.
That person was Sharon Forster, who is the granddaughter of James W. DeYoung (J. W. DeYoung) the original architect of the Alger Theater in Lakeview. The Alger Theater was constructed in 1940 by the Alger family, Merl Alger and Fred Reynolds, who also owned the Marius Theater in Lakeview, now the Marius Building. The Alger family built the theater because they were not able to show all the first run movies they wanted to at the Marius. After being open for awhile the Alger briefly shut down in the 1950s, as the family concentrated on the Marius. Eventually the family switch operations and sold the Marius Theater to the Forest Service which renovated it and used it as a district office.
Due to the rising costs, and the need for a digital projector, the Alger Theater was closed in 2014. Not long afterwards the Lakeview Community Partnership (LCP) worked on acquiring the theater and finally completed escrow in 2019.
Since that time the LCP and Ginger Casto, now executive director of LCP, has been looking for the original drawings, floor plans, and pictures of the Alger Theater from when it was originally built. This is part of the restoration effort as they are looking to make it look as close to its original condition as possible. Not many photos have been found, and most of them date from the 1960s.
Now with this information from Forster, who has promised to send copies of what she has and also help Casto and the LCP gain access to her grandfather’s archives which are held at the University of Oregon Design Library. LCP will be one step closer to knowing what the original theater looked like.
DeYoung designed many classic movie theaters across Oregon, and the interior design as well. Some of his more famous creations include the Hollywood and Paramount theaters in Portland. The Lake Theater in Lake Oswego; and the Heathman Hotel in Portland.
For more information contact Casto at 541-944-8176.