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Latest Information Updates

6/10/2021 - Four Star Theatre - Grand Rapids - WlndDavid
The building has NOT been torn down.

Popeyes Chicken is next door. As of 6-10-21 there is an article on MLive about the new owner planning on restoration.Link to article: https://www.mlive.

5/31/2021 - Millburg Fairgrounds - Millburg - jeffbieri1@att.net
I remember going there as a a kid 8-13.

I raced motocross, but we loved watching are friends race flat track. I remember a night a guy flew over the fence and landed on the third row of cars. I think he was killed. Bob Larsen owned the Yamaha shop.

He jumped some cars during halftime and his front tire collapsed like a pancake. It was great racing. Us kids would bring are bicycles and ride the pits. I had a Yamaha bicycle.

Great reports. My dad knew ken and Jerry the owners. It’s cool that flat track is making a huge come back. Use to go to Illinois and watch jay Springsteen and the camel race series.

There was also a racer from mill burg track that was also a contender. .
5/18/2021 - Crescent Theater - Grand Haven - Bobbi Sabine
The Crescent Theater opened on Christmas Eve, 1928. It closed on October 3, 1939.
5/9/2021 - Fremont Theatre - Fremont - Cinema Treasures
The January 16, 1939, issue of The Film Daily reported that a new theater being built at Fremont, Michigan, for Harold Hedler would be completed about March 1.

The architect was Joseph Krenek, who was also the contractor. The 468-seat house opened as the Oz Theatre, and was listed under that name in the Film Daily Yearbook at least as late as 1970. Sometime between then and 1982, when this photo was taken, it was renamed the Fremont Theatre. Its site is now partly occupied by a pedestrian passage to the parking lot behind the shops along the block.

[Joe Vogel].
5/3/2021 - Dowagiac Theatre - Dowagiac - Cinema Treasures

The Dowagiac Theatre was gutted by a $100,000 fire on November 22, 1977.

The News-Palladium, which published a photo of the fire, noted that it was constructed in the mid-1940’s after being destroyed by fire during World War II.

Sanborn Maps show a theatre was built at this location between 1931 and 1933, nearly across the street from the Century Theatre.

According to Motion Picture Herald, August 14, 1946, Paul Caruso had opened the 400-seat Caruso Theater featuring a crying room. In 1963 it was still called the Caruso Theatre.

In 1971 it was operated by Donald White, who opened the new Southtown Twin in St. Joseph in July. On November 23, 1977 the Dowagiac Theatre was gutted by a fire.

Contributed by Ron Pierce


5/3/2021 - Chief Theatre - Dowagiac - Cinema Treasures

Joe Vogel on May 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm

The November 10, 1945, issue of Motion Picture Herald had this brief notice: “The Larkin theatre company has announced plans for construction of a modern theatre in Dowagiac, Mich.

, to be known as the Chief.”

The Larkin Theatre Company was formed in 1921 and built the Century Theatre that year. L. Larkin had been in the theater business at Dowagiac since at least the early 1910s, having managed the Beckwith Theatre and a house called the Orpheum, which might have later been renamed the Larkin Theatre.

In the 1914-15 American Motion Picture Directory Dowagiac had four theaters listed: the Beckwith, the Orpheum, the Park, and the Pastime. The Film Daily Yearbook lists only the Beckwith and the Century at Beckwith from 1926 through 1946, and the Beckwith is unlisted many of those years, and most often listed as closed when it is listed.

The Chief was operating in 1946, though it didn’t appear in the FDY until 1947, the same year the Caruso first appeared.

4/27/2021 - Palace Theater - Petoskey - Cinema Treasures
The Palace Theatre opened on July 1, 1916, and was originally operated under a lease by Charles Galster, with Norman J. Feldman as manager. The Palace Theatre was still operating in 1950. The building is still standing, and now houses a retail store.
4/25/2021 - Temple Theatre - Sault Sainte Marie - Cinema Treasures
The Temple Theatre was opened in 1911. In 1923 it was taken over by the Soo Amusement Company. They operated it for its entire life until it was destroyed by fire December 13, 1973.
4/22/2021 - Liberty Theater - Marlette - waterwinterwonderland.com
This theater pre-dated the more known Center Theater but was destroyed by fire. It opened in 1925 and lasted about 10 years or so from what I can gather.
4/19/2021 - Milford Independent Cinema - Milford - waterwinterwonderland.com
This small independent theater was opened in 1972 but ran into trouble in 2020. There was a grass roots effort to keep it going as a non-profit but apparently that did not pan out, perhaps due to the COVID epidemic. This was a personal favorite of your loyal webmaster, I am saddened.
4/19/2021 - EMagine Novi - Novi - waterwinterwonderland.com
This theater experimented with a drive-in concept as the screen on the side of the building indicates.
4/19/2021 - MJR Westland Grand Digital Cinema 16 - Westland - waterwinterwonderland.com
I decided to create a separate entry for this theater as it is a brand new building and complete replacement for the old Showcase Westland.
4/18/2021 - Showcase Cinemas Flint East - Burton - waterwinterwonderland.com
Recent site inspection reveals the lot sits empty and undeveloped. Some signage and parking lots remain. One is reminded by seeing the enormity of the main parking lot and overflow lot how busy this place must have been in it's heyday.
4/18/2021 - Vaudette Theatre - Mount Pleasant - waterwinterwonderland.com
Following up on what Seth posted in 2005 (has it been that long??!!), there is indeed evidence of possibly 2 lost theaters in Mt.

Pleasant. There was an assessment written up regarding the historical significance of the downtown area of Mt. Pleasant and these theaters are mentioned. I have posted the excerpt.

This particular theater could be the old Vaudette. .
4/17/2021 - Temple Theatre - Howell - Cinema Treasures

The Temple Theatre was considered Howell’s first movie theatre.

It operated much of its existence at 211 E. Grand River Avenue though operated in two other locations for brief periods of time. The Temple Theatre opened July 7, 1909. In 1920, it played the film, “The Rich Slave” which was shot in Howell.

The theatre was modernized several times including the installation of a $7,000 Bartola organ in 1921. Owner Vernon Locey announced plans to replace the Temple Theatre with the Livingston Theatre with sound. But another interest, Schulte Amusements, built the Howell Theatre ending Locey’s plans.

Before the Howell Theatre opened, a fire closed the Temple Theatre briefly in January 1928.

In March of 1928, it was hit by another fire. Operator Vernon Locey rebranded the location as the Rex Theatre April 6, 1928 as the discount movie location. In October Schulte bought the Rex Theatre closing it as the new Howell Theatre opened a block away on December 11, 1929. The former theatre became an auto service garage.

4/17/2021 - Tahqua-Land Theatre - Newberry - Web

This ornate 1930's gem of a theatre, started out as The State Theatre, built by Thomas Shimmens and constructed in 1929, opened in August of 1930.

Costing $60,000 of which $30,000 was a bond issue, all sold to citizens of Newberry. Seating was for 400 and shows changed four times a week. Movies were shown daily until 1969 and were an important corner stone for the area. This beautiful Upper Peninsula Historical Theater was built during the depression.

Beautiful woodwork, plaster and lighting fixtures made the theatre a unqiue place for our town.

From Tahqua-Land Theater Website

4/17/2021 - Callier Theatre - Belding - waterwinterwonderland.com
Amazingly, the old bank building featured in the postcard still exists as a bank. It is plainly seen the theater is now gone however.
4/17/2021 - Pentwater Theatre - Pentwater - Cinema Treasures

The Miracle Theatre opened in 1930.

By 1938, it had been renamed Pentwater Theatre. It had a cry room for moms to take crying babies to so they could try and watch a movie. You can tell during the 1950’s television was already moving into the customer base for entertainment. The Pentwater Theatre boldly advertised "Only On the Big Screen Can You See Big New Pictures".

The Pentwater Theatre was closed in 1986.


4/17/2021 - Roxy Theatre - St. Charles - waterwinterwonderland.com
Recent review of the address indicates a pizza shop resides there. It does not appear to be the original building the theater was housed in however.
4/17/2021 - Center Theatre - Marlette - waterwinterwonderland.com
A review of current street views indicates no trace of the old theater. One would assume it was somewhere downtown along M-53 AKA Main St.
4/17/2021 - Park Theatre - Montague - waterwinterwonderland.com
Checking historical information and looking over recent street views of Ferry Street, I am seeing nothing that resembles the old theater. I am assuming it was demolished.
4/17/2021 - Pavillion Theatre - Saugatuck - Cinema Treasures

Saugatuck’s Big Pavilion was opened July 4, 1909, situated on the Kalamazoo River not far from the Hotel Saugatuck (today the Coral Gables Restaurant and Bar).

The huge dance floor was under a nearly 70-foot arched ceiling, with colored lights that changed colors and flashed along to the music. The Pavilion also later contained a popular restaurant, the Dock, as well as a roller skating rink.

In 1913, a 400-seat movie theater was built in the Big Pavilion. It was wired for sound in 1930, and was listed as (Closed) in the 1941 and 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook.

In the 1950’s a CinemaScope screen was installed and seating increased to 700. On May 4, 1960, the Big Pavilion was completely destroyed in a spectacular fire.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

4/17/2021 - Crystal Theatre - Beulah - waterwinterwonderland.com
Looking at the old color photo and comparing to the current street view, it appears this old theater has been demolished. I am seeing nothing else on that stretch of road that resembles it.
4/17/2021 - Wakefield Theatre - Wakefield - Cinema Treasures

To honor the youth who were summoned to World War I in early-1917, the City of Wakefield, Michigan unanimously decided to do something after the war that ‘would keep fresh in the minds of the younger generations and others to follow the deeds of valor on the battlefields of France’.

It was agreed that some kind of lasting memorial should be established to honor those sacrifices that were made in order for democracy and free government to survive on this earth. The people of Wakefield considered that the beautiful tribute to those who served during the Great War was typical of the spirit of patriotism and progress that the town possessed in abundance at that time.

It was decided that a memorial building was the best tribute, but not just any building voiced the community - it was to be ‘the best that could be built.’

In 1924, the 52,000 sq.

ft. Wakefield Memorial Building was completed in a town with a population was 4,152. With a price tag of $400,000.00, construction of the building entailed an enormous amount of effort and sacrifice by the citizens of Wakefield.

What Wakefield lacked in size it more than compensated for in determination and ambition. Like other towns at that time, Wakefield gave until it hurt during the war and now that it was over, they continued to do so. It was a common saying in Wakefield at that time that perhaps it was ‘the smallest city in the United States with the largest memorial building.’

The Memorial Building housed a large theater with balcony.

4/16/2021 - Avon Theatre - Rochester - Cinema Treasures

This house opened in February, 1914, as the Idle Hour Theatre.

Originally seating 400, it was remodeled and expanded to 500 seats in 1936, with an Art Deco facade designed by Dearborn architects Bennett & Straight. At this time it was renamed the Avon Theatre.

The Avon Theatre was Rochester’s only movie house until the opening of the Hills Theatre across the street in 1942. After that the Avon Theatre operated as the town’s “B” house until closing in the early-1950’s.

As the building was being remodeled to accommodate a retail store in 1955, the Art Deco front collapsed. The rest of the building survived and is still standing, used as retail space, but it is no longer recognizable as a former theater.

4/16/2021 - Armada Theatre - Armada - waterwinterwonderland.com

From the History of Armada:

"In its heyday, the town of Armada boasted an opera house, a theater, seven grocery stores, a hotel and livery stable, three hardware stores, a lumberyard, a grain mill, two implement dealers, a bakery, five doctors and several blacksmiths."

4/16/2021 - Tibbits Opera House - Coldwater - Andy Gray

Al's theater construction work began sometime in the 1930s.

The first job that we can conclusively date was the Tibbits Theatre in Coldwater, which he remodeled in 1934. The last known job was the construction of the Maple City Drive-In near Charlotte, which opened in 1953.

Eleven of the theaters that he built or remodeled are still showing films today. Several of the other buildings still stand and house a variety of other businesses.

The theaters ranged from very modest small-town community venues to some large metropolitan cinemas. Most had an art moderne (later called "art deco") style and shared some common design elements. Al often filled dual roles as general contractor and theatre consultant, which leads us to believe that he had an outsized influence on the design of many of these projects.

A typical Johnson-built theater incorporated ceramic-like glossy tiled walls in a cream and red exterior color scheme.

Many of the interiors featured elaborate murals, abstract designs and decorative lighting fixtures. Al was said to have patented a style of paired entrance door featuring matching glass panes of various shapes (e.g. half-moon, half-hexagon, half-octagon and others).

These were known as "Johnson doors" and were a feature of most of Al's projects. The Almont Theatre, completed in 1948, is representative of a community theater built by Johnson.

Sadly, none of Al's drive-ins have survived. After completing the Maple City Drive-In, Al shifted his company's work to other types of commercial and residential construction.

Al passed away in 1958, at which time the company was dissolved.

Five of our family members were key to the success of the Johnson Construction Company. The company founder was Albert S. (Al) Johnson.

His two sons Charles (Chuck) and Albert S. Johnson Junior (Bud) also worked on several of the projects.

Al's future son-in-law Doug Gray, and Doug's father Robie Gray, also worked for the company on these theaters and drive-in jobs.


4/13/2021 - New Pontiac Speedway - Pontiac - waterwinterwonderland.com
This entry may refer to Lake Angelus Speedway. The location and time frame mentioned in the article are pretty close.
4/12/2021 - Christiana Lake Speedway - Christiana Lake - waterwinterwonderland.com
I haven't been able to find out anything on this track so far. I did find some old aerial photos and topographical maps that seem to indicate a track like shape next to the lake in the general time frame the track would have been operating.
4/12/2021 - Algonac Speedway - Algonac - waterwinterwonderland.com
This short-lived track did indeed feature auto racing. The newspapers at the time indicate it was once a horse track that was adapted for cars.

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