Springfield Theaters

Springfield, Oregon was incorporated as a city in 1885. Although it was only 3½ miles from Eugene, it remained more rural and agricultural well into the 20th century. In 1907, the city’s population was 950 and the city had 34 businesses. The Booth-Kelly Lumber Mill employed 400 men.

In 1910, a streetcar connected the two cities, making it easier for Springfield residents to attend movies in Eugene, and for Eugene residents to take advantage of the saloons in Springfield. Eugene was a “dry” town, but Springfield didn’t impose alcohol prohibition until 1915.

A Springfield opera house is mentioned in a news item in the Springfield News from 1907, although it doesn’t appear in any of the city directories.

Springfield News, 12 July 1907, p. 5

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1907 and 1912 show a “public hall” with a stage on the corner of 3rd St. and Main St.

Main St. between 3rd and 4th Sts., Springfield, Oregon, 1907. Digital Sanborn Maps.
Main St. between 3rd and 4th Sts., Springfield, Oregon, 1912. Digital Sanborn Maps

Unlike Eugene, which supported as many as six theaters at one time, Springfield never had more than one movie theater before the 1940s.