Centre Theatre

Smugglers Notch Road,
Stowe, VT 05672

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Daytz Theatre Enterprises Corp.

Architects: Lawrence B. Anderson, Herbert L. Beckwith

Firms: Anderson & Beckwith

Previous Names: Stowaway Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Located in the Mt. Mansfield section of town, the 350-seat Stowaway Theatre was opened in late-1948. It was still named Stowaway Theatre in 1957. By 1970 it had been renamed Centre Theatre and was operated by Daytz Theatres.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

This house opened in late 1948. There might also be a problem with the address of this theater, unless the street name has been changed since 1948. 1948 trade journal items about the new house under construction at Stowe give its location as Smugglers Notch Road. It might be that the Mountain Road address belonged to an earlier Stowaway Theatre, of which the October 2, 1948 issue of Boxoffice said “[t]he Stowaway Theatre, Stowe, Vt., has been closed permanently and all the equipment has been pulled out. The town will not be long without a theatre, however, as a new 350-seat house is under construction and should be ready for a December opening.”

The new house was described in this item from the October 9 issue of Boxoffice:

“Two enterprising young skiing enthusiasts, Holmes Welch of Boston and John Flint of Bellows Falls, Vt., former classmates at Harvard, have completed plans for a resort center in Stowe, Vt., which will house a 350-seat theatre.

“Designed by John Pierce in association with Anderson & Beckwith, Boston architects, the center is located on Smugglers Notch road in the Mt. Mansfield section. The center includes the theatre, a sporting goods store, bowling alleys, an outdoor ice skating rink, a dance hall and restaurant. The interior of the building, decorated in curly birch, is so arranged that each section can be seen from the main entrance. This results from the free use of glass partitions and the many floor levels which give the interior a rambling, old-fashioned appearance. The trim, wide-eaved building will gleam barn-red in the snow.

“The theatre itself has acoustics designed by the MIT Acoustical Laboratory as well as modern ventilation and sound systems. Kroehler pushback seats have been ordered. An interesting feature of the theatre is the pitch of the floor is steeper than necessary for the 350-seat space, thus allowing ample room to expand the theatre by pushing back the rear wall should the occasion arise. The entire center will cost $230,000 and is set for an early December opening. The theatre will be operated by Welch and will have evening shows and matinees when the weather is bad. It is the fore-runner of several such resort centers in popular winter and summer sports sections throughout the country.”

I’ve been unable to find anything about John W. Pierce, and it occurs to me that he might not have been a licensed architect, but maybe was the person who came up with the overall concept of the project. Lawrence B. Anderson and Herbert L. Beckwith were quite well known, though, being principals of the firm of Anderson, Beckwith & Haible. Both were professors at MIT, Anderson eventually becoming dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. Beckwith was a major figure in the Modern movement, with many significant commissions to his credit.

This item datelined Stowe appeared in the September 1, 1948 issue of The Exhibitor, and also gives the location of the project as Smugglers Notch Road:

“A theatre of 350 seats is nearing completion on the Smugglers Notch Road. It is part of a physical plant which will also contain a bowling alley and a recreation center, all of which will be open for year-round business. The building is located within eight miles of Waterbury, Vt., and not more than four miles from Morrisville, Vt. The structure-to-be is the property of the Stowe Center Associates, Inc., a concern which plans to duplicate this project in other sections of the country which cater to vacationists. One of the skiing centers, Mt. Mansfield, is in this area. Incidently, [sic] Lowell Thomas has interests in this sector. Architects for the theatre are John W. Pierce, Lawrence Anderson, and Herbert L. Beckwith, all of Boston.”

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