March 7th, 2013 – Egyptian Night at Benetti’s

24 January 2015

“One Moment in Time, Make it Shine!”

It was a wonderful event attended by 36 supporters and totally paid for by Joe and Tricia Benetti.

George Kramer of Kramer and Company, our historic preservation consultant, gave a most interesting talk after dinner about the development of the nation’s Egyptian Theaters. Here are some of his remarks:

“Of 35 Egyptian theaters built in the United States during the years after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, thirteen are still in operation. (Currently we are not among them.) They were all built between 1922 and 1925. Thirteen of them were built on the West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington). Of those 13, there is one that is open and showing movies – the Grauman’s Egyptian Theater, in L.A. with its Steven Spielberg Theater and location on Hollywood Boulevard.

That theater was built at a cost of $800,000 in 1922 when the city’s population was over one million. It was renovated at a cost of $15 million in 1998 when the population of L.A. had grown to 9.5 million. However, the interior renovation did not retain the original design, maintaining only its “sunburst” ceiling.

The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay was built in 1924, relying upon an existing structure, a parking garage. It cost $200,000 at a time when Marshfield’s population was about 4,500. It will be renovated over the next few years at a cost of less than $1 million to get it open with a population in Coos Bay/North Bend of around 25,000.

Nobody on the West Coast, nobody but Coos Bay, has a virtually unchanged example of an Egyptian theater, built in the glory days of the form, just two years after King Tut was found, and protected for all these years.

Of the 13 that were once on the West Coast, only two survive. You should be proud of yourselves that your city, and your community, and each of you, had the vision and foresight to appreciate that.

With the single exception of Grauman’s Egyptian in L.A. and its location on Hollywood Blvd, EVERY OTHER EGYPTIAN THEATER EVER BUILT ON THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES… EVERY ONE HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED.

EXCEPT YOURS.

Congratulations, Coos Bay.”