EMMA ROUTLEY/FILE PHOTO
CRESWELL – The old Star Theatre at 187 W. Oregon Ave. has been purchased by the owners of the Creswell Bakery, Jeffery and Colleen Tunnell. The property went up for sale after the former owner, Elinor Ann Bright, died in June.
No word yet on what the Tunnells plan to do with the building, said daughter Heidi Tunnell, who runs the bakery on the same block.
The building retains a large theatre area on the ground floor with an upper balcony. In addition there is a four-bedroom apartment in the back, south end of the building, adjacent to city parking.
The building is rich in history, according to historical society documents. In 1905 the building was owned by the Melton family and served as a Woodsmen of the World (WOW) Hall. The building was a place to host meetings upstairs, and provide performance space for traveling entertainment groups, local talent and silent movies downstairs.
In 1910, the city council also held its meetings there.
Creswell centenarian Katherine Melton donated all the land she owned on Oregon Avenue to the City in the 1940s, the WOW Hall included. The building’s upper story was condemned and demolished in 1948 and around the same time, the building was sold to Art Johnson, who renovated the building and operated it as the Star Theatre in the 1950s and ’60s. Local narratives also hold that the theatre was the only one in town large enough to host school productions.