Silver Theatre

115 W. Cass Street,
Greenville, MI 48838

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previously operated by: W.S. Butterfield Theaters Inc.

Architects: Lavern R. Bennett, Eugene D. Straight

Firms: Bennett & Straight

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Phelp's Opera House

Nearby Theaters

Silver Theatre

Originally built as Phelp’s Opera House. The Silver Theatre was given an Art Deco style remodel in 1935 by architectural firm Bennett & Straight. It was closed in 1986.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2009 at 12:51 pm

The announcement that the formal opening of the Silver Theatre had been held Wednesday and Thursday nights was made in Boxoffice of August 31, 1935. The building had been “reconstructed,” Boxoffice said, and “…replaces the old Silver Theatre, a landmark here for years.”

Despite the impression given by that item, Bennett & Straight’s version of the Silver Theatre was not entirely new construction, but a radical remodeling of the building that had been Bert Silver’s second theater in Greenville. A more extensive article about Mr. Silver and his theater appeared in Boxoffice of March 7, 1936. It includes not only photos, but before-and-after floor plans showing how extensive the alterations had been.

The article mentions that the Silver Theatre had earlier been Phelps' Opera House. An 1896 book called Headlight flashes along the Detroit, Lansing & Northern line says of this establishment (a converted livery stable, according to Boxoffice) “the commodious Phelps' opera house of twelve hundred seating capacity is well patronized.” The following page has an interior photo. I don’t think the rebuilt Silver was quite so capacious, but it was indeed large, as evidenced by the interior photos in Boxoffice.

Water Winter Wonderland has a page for the Silver Theatre with photos. It gives a closing date of 1986.

DAK8601 on August 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm

At a recent antique show, I purchased two small brochures advertising coming attractions for the Silver Theater in Greenville, Michigan.

The first from August 1938 advertises coming attractions “Boy Meets Girl,” “The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse,” and “Marie Antoinette.” It also promises summer moviegoers, air conditioned comfort, Latest News Events, Novelties, Don Bestor’s Orchestra, and a Lone Ranger serial on Saturday afternoon.

The second is from September 1942 and also promotes the Gibson Theater. Greenville moviegoers are urged to buy war bonds at the theater on their way to see “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Careful Soft Shoulders” at the Silver or “City of Missing Girls” at the Gibson. Added attractions: News, Cartoons, Kaltenborn, and March of Time. Saturday matinee is Gene Autry in “Call of the Canyon” at the Silver and Bela Lugosi in “Spooks Run Wild” at the Gibson.

I can scan and post if anybody’s interested.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on November 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm

I know I’d sure love to see it, DAK. I’m guessing a good number of other folks would too!

I think whenever anyone has any sort of relic from a theatre, detailed photos or scans should ALWAYS be uploaded. I see CT as sort of a virtual museum/archive and it’s so important everyone contribute everything they can. It would be fabulous if one day, every theatre that ever existed had a listing here and every known fact and personal memory was recorded in the comments or description,every existing photo uploaded to the photos section and every surviving document/relic scanned/photographed in detail and then uploaded to photos. I think quite a few people think that the photo section is simply for photos of the building itself and that’s absolutely not the case. I just posted scans of a ticket (front and back) I own for the Silver. It’s really sad how many theatres have rapidly faded away into nothing but foggy memories. I’ve run across more locations than I can count where not even the local museum was aware it ever existed and the only known vestige of its life is a painfully vague listing in Film Daily Yearbook. I always wonder if somewhere there is a photograph in a family album, a stack of show calendars buried in some grandma’s basement or even some lonely, elderly person who once owned/managed/worked at/patronized any given theatre with vivid memories of the theatre in question; this elder may be the last (or one of the last) living ties to the place and growing dangerously closer to death each day-not only of them as a person but of their unique and priceless memories as well should they go unrecorded (which is all too often the case). I’d even bet that in many cases (particularly in small, isolated communities), the theatres themselves may still stand but for nobody to recognize as their theatrical days ended too long ago for any living person to recal and no existing record of its former function. Our theatres and drive-ins are just too important to our history for us to allow them to vanish. These venues were so much to the communities they served. It will take all of us to bring whatever shred of the past we may have or know of to the table here to ensure this not happen.

Chris1982 on November 18, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Anhony: I agree with you 100%. My best friend father who was a member of CT until his passing had tons of notes that were very descriptive of so many theatres. I have posted a large number of his photos on CT and some of his notes with his sons permission. I just have to convince Stephen to let me post more, he is rather bitter toward CT and some of its members.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.