Oregon Public Broadcasting

Downtown Vancouver's Kiggins Theater has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since 1936, the Kiggins has dressed up Vancouver's Main Street, with its cast concrete and ornamental relief.

080812_higgins08_small.jpgApril Baer / OPBVancouver's Kiggins Theater was built in 1936.

It's had ups and downs, including a stint in the 1980s as a church, and more recent periods when the building was closed.

Architect Derek Chisholm helped lobby for the historic status. He says the Parks Service makes these listings to preserve a piece of history.

"A very well and intact theater has been hard to find these days. Arguably it had been neglected, but the neglect had allowed many of the historic features to be retained, and then available for a full restoration once the right owner had control of the building."

The designation means the theater can't be demolished for any kind of federal project. It also carries some minor tax advantages.

The late Day Walter Hilborn designed the Kiggins. He's responsible for many other recognizable theaters in the region, including Baker City's Eltrym, and the Moreland Theater in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood.

The Kiggins re-opened last fall and has been screening select first-run movies.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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