Art lover George Guthrie developed the Elsinore Theatre in 1926‚ and he modeled the building to look like the castle in Shakespeare’s drama‚ Hamlet. The cost to construct the Tudor Gothic structure in downtown Salem was $250‚000‚ and it was equipped with a 900-pipe Wurlitzer organ. Edgar Bergen‚ Clark Gable and the John Philip Sousa Band all performed on the Elsinore stage.
The theater eventually fell into disrepair‚ and there were plans to demolish it in 1980. Fortunately‚ a citizens group saved it. A $3.2 million renovation project took place from 2002-04‚ and today the building is used for more than 150 purposes.