Andrew Gregg, who saw his first big-screen film at the Kiggins Theatre in 1961, knows he’s one of many local folks who feel undying love for downtown Vancouver’s historic movie palace.
“Vancouverites of a certain age nostalgically recall that theater as a venue for life events that remain special memories,” Gregg said. “Whether it was a first movie, first date, or first kiss, the Kiggins Theatre is … inextricably bound to our sense of place, our respect for history, and that feeling that our human journey is defined by experiences that might be shared with complete strangers in a darkened movie house.”
Therefore, Gregg said, we all owe a debt of enjoyment to J.P. Kiggins, who arrived here as a humble Army sergeant in the late 1800s and grew into a leading businessman, builder and nine-term mayor — a defining visionary of the city Vancouver would become.
Tonight, Gregg will highlight Kiggins’ life and monumental local impact in a talk called “Kiggins: The history of John P. Kiggins and his theater.” It’s the latest in the Clark County Historical Museum’s First Thursday Speaker Series.
Don’t get confused about the location: Gregg’s talk is not at the Kiggins, but up the street at the Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main St. Doors open at 5 p.m. and Gregg speaks at 7 p.m. Admission is $5; seniors and students are $4. Visit www.cchmuseum.org/ for more information, or call 360-993-5679.
Gregg, who grew up in Vancouver, is a local historian with a master’s degree in public history from Washington State University. He currently serves on the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission.