Betz Building

Also known as: Gem Theater , Star Saloon
239 W Main Street, Athena OR

Masonry building with metal facade built in 1901


Betz Building

Photo taken by Richard Doody in December 2009



The structure was built by the Jacob Betz Brewing and Malting Company of Walla Walla, Washington as a saloon and restaurant. Athena passed a local option law in 1908 closing all saloons and the west compartment of the Betz Building was converted into a movie house in 1909. It closed for the first time in January,9 1930.The theater was purchased by Lloyd and Edith Moore of Hermiston in 1937. After adding a balcony, a new projection room and new seating on the main floor, the Modern Gem Theater was opened in 1938.It continued to operate until 1968.

Update Log 

  • May 11, 2018: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody