Boice Theatre

119 E. Center Street,
Warsaw, IN 46580

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Mallers Brothers

Architects: John Adolph Emil Eberson

Firms: Fugard & Knapp

Functions: Office Space

Previous Names: Centennial Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Boice Theatre

The Centennial Theatre opened in December 1916. In 1926 a Marr & Colton theatre organ was installed. It was renamed Boice Theatre in 1955 and closed in 1973.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2010 at 2:58 am

I don’t see this building on either part of the intersection of Center and Indiana. All buildings look like new construction.

lipalarp on May 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

This building burned and the outer shell was retained but totally rebuilt for retail.

TLSLOEWS on May 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Thanks again oldtimer in the know, welcome to Cinema Treasures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm

There are conflicting reports about the theaters in Warsaw, but this house should probably be listed as the Boice Theatre, with Centennial as an aka. It was built in either 1916 or 1917, became the Boice Theatre in 1955, and operated until 1973. A comment on this message board page says that the theater that was the Boice in the 1950s had once been the Centennial, and that it had been built in 1916. It suggests that the Centennial might have been closed for a long time before being reopened as the Boice, and the building might have had some other use in the meantime, but that’s not certain.

But then this 2005 Union-News article says that the Boice was “newly built” in 1955. I’m inclined to think that’s wrong, as the building on the corner today has the same form as the one in the picture Lost Memory linked to (though it’s been refaced with modern materials,) and that was clearly an old building with a stage house. The article also says the house was operated by the Boices until it was destroyed by a fire in 1973, but this 1968 article about Ralph and Gladys Boice says that they had by then retired from the theater business and had recently leased the Boice Theatre to a Roger Vores.

The Boices had begun operating the Strand Theatre on North Buffalo Street in 1931, according to the 1968 article. I’ve also come across a reference to a Bell Theatre in Warsaw, the name of which was changed to the New Grand in late 1915. A house called the Royal was operating in Warsaw at the same time (it’s possible that one or the other of these might have become the Strand.) The old Warsaw Opera House might have been operating as a movie theater at that time, too, as it was mentioned in same issue of The Motion Picture World, January 1, 1916. However, this page with a history of the Opera House doesn’t mention it being used for movies. The Opera House was destroyed by a fire in 1967. The same page gives the opening year of the Centennial as 1917, rather than 1916.

AndrewBarrett on January 28, 2015 at 8:31 pm

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Pipe Organ” by Mr. David Junchen, pg. 629, there was a Seeburg-Smith theatre pipe organ installed at the “Centennial Th.” in Warsaw, Indiana, in 1917.

The organ had a Spencer blower, serial #6681.

The blower’s horsepower and static wind pressure are not given in the book, being unknown at the time of publication.

Also unknown is the size of the organ, the number of manuals and ranks.

Does anybody know any more about this organ, and where it (or its parts) is/are today? Thanks a lot!

If a Marr & Colton organ was actually installed at this theatre in 1926 (I don’t have the Marr & Colton section of the book handy to check right now), then it would either be a replacement for, or a remodel/enlargement(?) of, the existing Seeburg-Smith instrument.

Does anybody know more about this Marr & Colton organ, and where it (or its parts) is/are today? Thanks!

Granola on January 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm


Broan on August 18, 2021 at 11:06 pm

American Contractor of July 8, 1916 describes a 600 seat theater to be built at corner of Indiana and Center Streets by John Eberson with Fugard & Knapp

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 19, 2021 at 12:19 am

Broan’s discovery that John Eberson and the firm of Fugard & Knapp were both connected with the Centennial Theatre project is interesting. Cinema Treasures' page for the Paramount (originally the Majestic, 1915) Theatre in Austin, Texas, attributes that theater’s design to Eberson, but Emporis attributes it to Fugard & Knapp. The two firms were associated on more than one project around that time, then.

The Centennial was completed before the end of 1916, as it’s recent opening was noted in the December 23 issue of Moving Picture World.

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