Gem Theatre

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Gem Theatre

Gem Theatre

Cassopolis, MI

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Uploaded on: May 30, 2024

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Gem Theatre

Built in 1841 as the second Cass County Courthouse, the building was replaced with the present-day courthouse in 1898/9. The former courthouse was salvaged and was moved to State Street at Disbrow Street where it stood for 70 additional years - most notably as a movie theater for some 50 years.

Cass County courthouse #2 was sold for just $25 with the provision that a new courthouse would be built in place of the too small 57-year old structure. William Jones moved the building remodeling it in its new location as the Colonial Opera House. That project included an addition at the rear of the building added on to the stage and a balcony. At that point, capacity was 420. In 1909, the venue’s name was changed to the Colonial Theatre with films added to the programming mix. In 1916, the Colonial was leased to John Conners and John Harpstrite of C& H Theatres Amusement Circuit. They were quickly able to vanquish the only two other upstart movie theaters in the town’s history in the Electric Theater and the Vaudette.

On June 29, 1929, new operator C.C. Owen installed sound to maintain the, now, full-time movie house’s commercial viability. Fred Pennell took on the venue changing the name to the Gem Theatre which received a major, streamline interior makeover in 1937. Its final owner, Gerald O'Boyle, ran the theatre for its final 22 years of operation into the summer of 1960. O'Boyle gave the theater its final major makeover in 1954 retrofitting the Gem for widescreen projection to show CinemaScope titles. Eight years after closing, the 127-year old building was demolished in 1968. The town never had another movie theater.

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Comments (1)

terrywade on May 30, 2024 at 8:06 am

Great ad Dallas they need to bring a live stage show back like this again at some of the large downtown movie theatres for Oct 2024.

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