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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Collections -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections
-> Downtown Las Vegas (The Fremont Street Experience) -> El Portal Theatre >2005 >1928

El Portal Theatre
Architect(s): Charles Alexander MacNelledge
Address: 310 Fremont St.
Year: 1928

Opened by William Pike and future Las Vegas Mayor Ernie Cragin in 1928, the theater, located at 310 Fremont St., was the city's first, and at times only, movie theater. The theater was the first air-conditioned building in Las Vegas. Now home to a gift shop, the hacienda-style exterior and the interior beams are all that remains of the movie house's historic architecture. The interior of the theater has been gutted, however with a little imagination a visitor can visualize the stairway, balcony and seating that was once El Portal's luxe offerings (and not forgetting the box seats with leather chairs, lofty beams, sparkling chandeliers and a mighty Wurlitzer organ).

As a cultural center of Las Vegas, El Portal reigned through the coming of talkies in 1929, the Depression years of the '30s, the World War II years of the '40s and into the '50s. Frank Sinatra introduced the movie "The Joker is Wild" at its Hollywood-style premiere, held at the El Portal Theater in 1957.



Chandeliers and lofty beams

The mighty Wurlitzer

First air-conditioned building in Las Vegas
Additional photos taken by Paulette Nelson, July 22,2005 Black and white photographs provieded by UNLV Libraries Special Collections

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:33 PST