Park Theatre - Augusta, MI
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member S5280ft
N 42° 20.065 W 085° 21.090
16T E 635809 N 4688223
Quick Description: Located on the south side of Clinton Street, east of Webster Street. Parking available.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 4/21/2007 11:44:56 AM
Waymark Code: WM1EJQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 116

Long Description:
The text from the Michigan Historical Marker:

Built in 1949 by D. Eli and Dorothy Frank, this was one of the last single-screen theaters built in Kalamazoo County. The Art Moderne-inspired structure is a Quonset hut attached to a masonry lobby. Eli and Dorothy also operated a theater in Galesburg. Eli came from a family of small-town theater entrepreneurs. In 1911 his mother, Lena, opened the Frank Opera House in Wayland. His brothers were also theater owners. The Park Theatre closed in 1996, but remained in use for special events.

From the State of Michigan Historic Preservatin Office website:

Narrative Description
The Park Theater is a single-screen, 432 seat theater building located on East Clinton Street between South Webster Street and the old canal race across from the Augusta village park. The Moderne style theater is constructed from a Quonset hut set on a concrete foundation and attached to a one-story, roughly rectangular concrete block lobby with a brick and "Permastone" synthetic stone ashlar facade. The two double door main entrances to the lobby flank a three-sided ticket booth. Two glass cases for movie posters are located next to the theater entrances. Double rows of glass bricks decorate the lower portion of the facade next to the entrances and ticket booth. Directly above the entrance, the word "PARK" is spelled out in neon lights with strips of neon decorative lighting on each side. Behind the theater's neon sign the lobby facade rises up past the full height of the Quonset hut. A triangular-shaped group of glass bricks topped by a flat arch and keystone accentuates the facade behind the "PARK" sign. The side of the lobby nearest the canal race has a roughly L-shaped extension with a brick facade and a recently added mansard roof. This extension and the lower portion of the facade were altered in 1980 when brick replaced most of the original ashlar permastone and structural glass facade and the mansard roof was added, covering the original straight roofline on this portion of the building. In the interior, refreshment counters are located in a terrazzo-tiled vestibule. A second, inner vestibule provides access to the Quonset hut theater auditorium. Large rectangular Cellotex planking tiles cover the curved walls and ceiling of the Quonset hut. The seats are laid out along two aisles with the largest block of seats in the middle section. A stage platform and screen are located against the back wall. The screen is covered by tapestry curtains between movie showings. The interior is unusual for the incorporation of a working fireplace into the in ner vestibule.

Statement of Significance
The Park Theater qualified for listing in the State Register of Historic Sites under criterion III at the local level of significance as an example of a one screen movie theater constructed from army surplus materials after World War II. The theater is a one of only a few one screen theaters remaining throughout the nation (Business Direct Magazine December 12-18, 1996). The Frank family, owners of the Park Theater, were pioneering cinema owners in Michigan. Lena Frank, opened the family's first movie theater, Frank's Opera House, in Wayland in 1911. Her son, D. Eli Frank, constructed his first cinema, the Gale Theater, in Galesburgh. In April 1949, D. Eli Frank purchased the site of the Salvation Army USO Recreation Building from the Augusta Vet's Club and constructed the Park Theater. The Quonset hut used for the auditorium portion of the building came from an unknown source, but reflects the larger trend of the use of army surplus materials in civilian construction after World War II. The theater officially opened on November 23, 1949, with a showing of The Red Pony. Soldiers training at nearby Fort Custer frequented the Augusta Park Theater. D. Eli Frank's son David assisted in constructing the theater and later purchased the business from him in 1957. He and his wife, Barbara, performed most of the daily work operating the theater until both retired in 1996. The theater closed after showing The Associate on December 1, 1996. David Frank continues to own the building and opens it for meetings, seminars, parties, and other special events.
Hut Type: Utility Building - "Elephant Hut"

Year of fabrication (if known): 1949

Is the Quonset Hut currently in use?: Yes

Physical Address:
108 Clinton Street
Augusta, MI U.S.A.

Additions: Not listed

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