Joseph H. Lebowsky Center

122 E. Main Street,
Owosso, MI 48867

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

The opening of the Capitol Theatre was noted in this item from The Moving Picture World of April 10, 1926:

“Butterfield’s Capitol at Owosso Opens

“THE inaugural performances at Col. Butterfield’s new Capitol Theatre, Owosso, Michigan, were given on Thursday evening, March 4th, to two capacity audiences, and hundreds of people were turned away. The policy consists of three acts of Keith vaudeville together with the best feature pictures and comedies obtainable.”

steelbeard1 on May 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm

The Lebowsky Center’s marquee has been restored with new LED lighting and electronic attraction boards which mean no more using a ladder to change the program.

steelbeard1 on May 6, 2014 at 5:53 am

Please change the seating capacity of the Lebowsky Center to 550. The reason for the reduced capacity is an enlarged lobby and more leg room with the new stadium seating.

steelbeard1 on May 6, 2014 at 5:39 am

The reconstruction is finally completed.

steelbeard1 on April 2, 2013 at 4:07 am

Reconstruction of the theater’s interior is finally underway.

BobFurmanek on March 15, 2013 at 5:41 am

NORTHWEST TRAIL had its world premiere at the Capitol in late 1945:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 30, 2012 at 8:48 am

The correct spelling of the architect’s surname is Bachmann.

steelbeard1 on June 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Financing is now in place to allow for the interior of this theater to be restored.

steelbeard1 on June 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

As part of the theater’s restoration, the OCP agreed to retain the red tiles and the 1950s marquee because that is part of the facade’s history.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 29, 2010 at 4:52 am

Really clean and nice looking marquee.

TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Thats good news.

steelbeard1 on June 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

No arrest has been made yet regarding the arsonist. In the meantime, the theater is being rebuilt.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on October 21, 2009 at 4:50 am

A postcard depicting Owosso’s Capitol Theatre from the early 1940s.


steelbeard1 on November 10, 2007 at 4:34 am

A photo of the Lebowsky Center interior, taken a month before the fire during The Home Depot makeover, is at View link

TheaterBuff1 on July 7, 2007 at 6:09 am

That does sound like a pattern there, Gary, while let me ask, is any new type of industry about to be introduced there, such as a gambling casino or something? Or, has there been a sharp new change in political leadership perhaps? I have seen this type of pattern before, such as in the New Jersey seaside resort of Ocean City (10 miles to Atlantic City’s south) when Atlantic City went the way of casinos and Ocean City was targetted to be a bedroom community for it. I also saw it in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the time its highly corrupt political machine — the one that’s in place today — rose up. And fires related to that are still going on in Philadelphia, which is soon to be getting casinos.

On the other hand all the fires you list might be totally unrelated, especially if there’s no sort of singular catalyst to tie them all together that way. And in Owosso’s case the burned structures ARE getting rebuilt, which totally contrasts the patterns I’ve seen. But that in itself is a pattern; first a fire, and then the building gets rebuilt. Of the one or two times I have seen that, it was clearly a case of ownership arson each time.

In any event, if they do eventually catch whoever torched the Lebowsky Center, maybe then they’ll find out if there was link between all the arsons or not.

steelbeard1 on July 5, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Whoops! Just after I wrote my last comment, another big suspicious fire, this one fatal, struck a three-story building just kitty corner from the Lebowsky Center. You can read that news story at View link and at View link There were two other fires before the Lebowsky Center one. Nearby, the Capitol Bowl bowling alley was destroyed in a 2006 fire and has been rebuilt. In 2005, an almost century old factory building was also destroyed by fire.

steelbeard1 on July 4, 2007 at 2:14 am

There haven’t been other arsons like this I’m aware of in the Owosso area. I hope Phase Two of the rebuilding includes installation of a sprinkler system.

TheaterBuff1 on July 2, 2007 at 8:18 am

Well that’s unsettling. Have there been other arsons that fit this same pattern, or was this the only one? If the answer is the latter, I would presume/hope that factor is being factored in in the rebuilding of this theater so it can’t happen again, while I still hold out hope they catch the guy.

steelbeard1 on July 1, 2007 at 11:23 am

They still don’t know who did it or why.

TheaterBuff1 on July 1, 2007 at 6:35 am

That sounds like relatively good news — I say “relatively” because I would have much preferred what was still left of the original historic structure been fully restored in every single instance. But hey, in an era when doing away with theaters completely has become so standard, who can be too critical in this instance?

But in this case did they ever find out who the arsonist was and what the motivation was, or is that much still left hanging in the air?

steelbeard1 on June 29, 2007 at 11:36 pm

It was announced on Wednesday, June 27 that the Lebowsky Center will be rebuilt! The OCP will need to raise $100,000 to start the rebuilding process. Most of the Phase One rebuilding will be covered by insurance. Phase One involves building new walls, a new roof, new exterior doors along Park Street, restoring electrical systems, basic lighting and a new roof heating system. They plan on beginning construction in July with the theater completely enclosed by the time winter sets in.

tomdelay on March 23, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Here is the Cinema Treasures link to the Capitol:


and the Capitol Theatre itself:

tomdelay on March 23, 2007 at 2:38 pm

I recall that there was a fire in the City-owned Capitol Theatre ij Yakima, WA. That huge fire was started by a welder’s torch who was actually working on the theatre’s restoration.

The damage to that theatre was very similar to the Lebowsky. There was a slide show for the Yakima theatre showing the damage and the restoration. From the photos, you would never know that magnificent Priteca-designed theatre had ever been destroyed.