The Colonial, Port Orford’s Movie Theatre

In late December 1935, ground was prepared for construction of Port Orford’s movie theater. Leroy Baker opened his new theater called The Colonial, April 28, 1936. Leroy was raised in Myrtle Point. He and his father, Al Baker, had shown movies in the old Port Orford WOW Hall in 1935. Lumber for the theater was milled by Port Orford’s Trans-Pacific Lumber Co. Seating was shipped from Michigan through a firm in Portland, Oregon.

The community, including Mayor Gilbert Gable, used The Colonial for lectures and live performances. Leroy Baker owned the theater till 1948, with ownership passing to Merle Alger. Alger also bought the Chinook Theater in Gold Beach.

Colonial Theater (center) during the 4th of July Jubilee, c1950 (note the 1950 Studebaker Club coupe in front of Norm’s Food Market on the left). John Lyle’s Fountain and Jacob Rose’s Service Station on the right.
Hwy 101 – Colonial Theater – Bartletts Cafe – c1965. “Gone with the Wind” is playing at The Colonial. Lyle’s Fountain has become Bartlett’s Cafe.

During the later 1950’s thru early 1980’s, Lola Windmaiser managed the theater. Lola and her husband, Adolph, arrived in Port Orford after the Second World War. Movie goers remember “Ol Lady” Windmaiser as a strict disciplinarian, children and adults alike. Before the film, a message appeared on the screen, “No Smoking, No Booze, No Snuff”. Lola would patrol the isle keeping an eye out for couples hugging or kissing. She carried a yard stick at times, threatening violators of her rules. People claim Lola actually struck them with her long ruler.

In the 80’s and 90’s The Colonial became The Star Theater and was owned and operated by Nick and Linda Reynolds. Nick was a founding member of the Kingston Trio. Linda Reynolds directed the remodeling of the Lobby. The candy and concession counters were rebuilt by local woodworker Rick Cook. Linda added a built-in fish aquarium, plush carpets and brass stanchions with velvet rope to the décor. In the late 1980’s Nick Reynolds sold the Star Theater to his friend Pete Lenihan. Pete, a long time Port Orford resident, was connected to the Jazz music world. He booked Jazz and Swing performers for outstanding concerts and dances including his own Pete Lenihan Jazz Ensemble.

In later years, the theater became the Savoy owned and operated by Chris Speed, an avid movie buff and theater enthusiast. She named the theater Savoy after a favorite dog of hers, whom she had named after the Savoy Brown band. In April 2013, a fire in the concession stand destroyed the Lobby and damaged the projection room. Thanks to the fire, the old Colonial/Savoy closed for good.

1997 Ad from The Down Town Fun Zone
Port Orford, Oregon
Port Orford (South End) Hwy 101 and 8th St c1940
Colonial Theatre ca. 1940’s. Established in 1936
(Port Orford (South End) Hwy 101 and 8th St c1940)
Cars (L to R): 1939 Plymouth; 1942 Oldsmobile 98 Four Door; and a 1941 Buick Two Door Fastback.)
Another view of The Colonial Theatre circa 1950 (From L to R: Heinie Dolge’s Garage and Shell Station – Port Orford High School – Bernal Forty House – Myrtle and Bob Forty House – Norm’s Market – Colonial Theater – Lyles Fountain – Chevron Station)
Car on left – 1950 Chevrolet convertible under the Shell Station canopy.
Cars across the street ( L to R): 1947 Pontiac; 1938 Chevrolet; 1950 Buick; 1947 Oldsmobile; 1948 Dodge; 1946 Ford (Fat); 1940 Chevrolet; 1941 Pontiac Streamliner; and a 1947 Pontiac.
Colonial 1960
Colonial Theatre Programme from January 1960
“The Western-Most Theatre in the United States.”
Building Port Orford Movie Theatre and Bartletts Cafe c1980s
The Star Theater (when owned by Nick Reynolds) and Bartletts Cafe c1980s
Savoy Theatre – Hwy 101 and 8th St – 2009 . Photo by Lance Nix.
The mural on the exterior wall is not actually a wall of the theatre, but the sole surviving wall of Norm’s Food Center which once stood next to it. [h/t]
Full view of The Savoy Mural as it existed in 2016. Photo by Alan Mitchell
Savoy mural concept when plans were being discussed to transform it into a movie and performing arts theater. (by artist Darren Evans. 2014)

The old theater building was completely restored and transformed in 2018 into a beautiful state-of-the-art fitness theater by the current owners at Mtn Sea Fitness.

SoulPie performs at the First Annual Port Orford Street Fair in front of the future home of Mtn Sea Fitness. The wall behind the band is where the old Savoy Mural used to be.

The large Brown Building on the left of this photo is the home of the Old Port Orford Theatre and the new Mtn Sea Fitness building. (from Discover Port Orford / The Oregon Coast )

Visit the Port Orford Historic Buildings and Sites Database for more information on the The Colonial, Port Orford’s Movie Theatre.

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  1. Carren Copeland

    Like this site! Nice to hear about our town. Been here since 1981 and have seen a few changes. Miss the old movie theater

  2. Bill Hawley. Bill George in the 50s.

    I attended Port Orford grade school in the mid 50s. Do you know if there are any pictures or yearbooks available?

    • Hi Bill — I believe the yearbooks are available at the respective school’s libraries (i.e. the grade school and the high school).

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