The Woman Behind Vancouver’s Slocum House Theater
The Clark County Historical Society and Museum recently published a cover story by long time newsman Dave Paull about Vancouver’s Hermine Decker. The article is
titled “Mrs. Decker’s Dream House” and tells of her efforts to found The Slocum House Theatre, located in Esther Short Park. Paull interviewed Mrs. Decker, who was his drama coach, in 1970.
His article focuses on Mrs. Decker efforts to resurrect the Slocum House, which was built in 1877, and remake it into a community theater.
Mrs. Decker was head of the Clark College drama department and began producing plays under the Slocum House name at the college. By the way, one of Mrs. Decker’s students at Clark College was Hollywood movie actor Sam Elliott, who graduated just a few months before the Slocum House era. By the way, Elliott moved to Portland when he was 13 and attended David Douglas High School and then the University of Oregon in Eugene, then attended Clark College in Vancouver.
Mrs. Decker lived to see her dream house thrive. She died in 1996 at the age of 88. The Slocum House Theatre closed abruptly in March, 2012. Today the city of Vancouver offers rental space at the Slocum House for weddings and events.