Upcoming Events & Classes

Kiggins: The history of John P. Kiggins and his theatre

Exterior of Kiggins Theatre, 1941

 Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, April 4, with historian Andrew Gregg’s presentation of “Kiggins: The history of John P. Kiggins and his theatre.” This talk will highlight the life of Vancouver’s former mayor and his monumental impact on Clark County. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.

Initially assigned to serve at the Vancouver Barracks at the turn of the nineteenth century, a 31-year-old Sergeant Kiggins vowed to transform Vancouver from a sleepy crossroads town to a thriving city. Within a few years of his arrival, Kiggins launched a political campaign that resulted in his first of many terms as Vancouver’s mayor.

Kiggins also established a successful construction company, and built several commercial buildings and theaters along Vancouver’s Main Street. The historic Kiggins Theatre, of course, is the landmark for which the mayor is best remembered.

“Vancouverites of a certain age nostalgically recall that theatre 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 a place that 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. And, it is to J.P. Kiggins we owe the debt of enjoying his vision for Vancouver more than a century later.”

Andrew Gregg is a Vancouver native who saw his first big-screen movie at the Kiggins Theatre in 1961. After a K-12 education in Vancouver Public Schools, Gregg graduated from Willamette University, attended Gonzaga University School of Law, and completed a master’s degree in public history at Washington State University. A National Board Certified teacher, Gregg has served as Clark County Arts Commission’s chairman, and is currently a Clark County Historic Preservation Commissioner. Since 1973, Gregg has written extensively about his hometown.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at events@cchmuseum.org.

Clark County Historical Museum unites history and hops as part of its interactive program, “History on Tap.” Each event features a trivia quiz, a Q&A segment, a talk on a popular historical topic, and — of course — a selection of local brews. Events are held at the Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, 1011 Main Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

Admission to “History on Tap” is $15 in advance, or $18 the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased at the Kiggins Theatre Box Office, the Clark County Historical Museum, or online at kigginstheatre.com/movies/history-on-tap. Audio support for “History on Tap” is provided by the Courtney Irvin Trust, and marketing support is provided by Zzoom Media. Additional support is provided by Vancouver’s Downtown Association.

2019 Program

January 17: From Lucky to Loowit: The Fall of Lucky Lager and the Rise of the Craft Brewing Industry

The closing of Lucky Lager Brewery in 1985 seemed to signal the end of more than 100 years of beer production in downtown Vancouver. Over the last two decades, however, passionate local brewers have come together through small bars, pubs, and microbreweries to create a culture of craft brewing in our community.

April 18: Pat Jollota Presents “The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington”

Local historian and author Pat Jollota presents the chilling details of the tragic 1950 murder of JoAnn Dewey in downtown Vancouver, and the subsequent arrests and trial. This talk is based on Jollota’s newest true crime history book, “The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington”

July 18: Stuff we used to believe — Strange stories from our past

Presented by CCHM resident historian Brad Richardson, this talk will explore once popular theories, beliefs, and ideas that have since been challenged or debunked. Potential topics include the Earth being the center of the universe, washing hands didn’t prevent disease, health benefits of drinking radioactive water, doctor recommended cigarettes, etc.   

October 17: Campfire Tales — The haunting history of Clark County

Presented by local historians Brad Richardson and Pat Jollota, this talk will explore the modern folklore of Clark County through historical interpretations, personal stories, and folktales related to our history and various haunting accounts.

The Clark County Historical Museum First Thursday Speaker Series runs from February to November of each year. These engaging talks feature a variety of topics ranging from popular local stories to broad organizational histories and much more. The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by Clark County’s Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.