Gerding Theater / Old Portland Armory

128 NW 11th Avenue

Built in 1891 and designed by McCaw, Martin and White. Constructed of brick, stone and wood, the Armory was originally constructed to give the Oregon National Guard “more space for drill maneuvers, as well as an underground firing range for all-season target practice.” This building has a more striking Medieval appearance now as the remodel and restoration into a theater is complete, but the castle-like facade of the former armory was no accident; its “thick walls, reinforced wooden doors, loopholes, turrets, and crenellated parapets” were designed to create a symbol of power, strength, and security in an era of mob violence, anti-Chinese rioting, and the fear of class warfare. Now, Portland Center Stage has transformed the former Armory into a “green” building as well as an exciting performance venue.