Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

BOHM THEATRE, 1940

Morning Star, October 7, 2012, pg. 9

A special thanks to Sally Kennedy for identifying the 50th wedding anniversary couple we pictured last week. They were Charles C. (1885-1964) & Bessie (McCormick) (1887-1968) Taylor. They were the owners and operators of the Ne-Ru-Bar Orchard just west of Albion along Irwin Avenue. The Taylors were married in Albion on December 22, 1909, so this would have been a December, 1959 photo. This concludes our unidentified 50th wedding anniversary photos series. We’ve had a 100% identification rate, thanks to you, our readers!

If you’ve been by the Bohm Theatre recently, you can tell that they are putting some serious money into the place. It’s not like the superficial "clean and paint" operations we’ve seen during the past couple of decades at the Bohm. They are actually carefully restoring it as funds become available. I was impressed at the new front doors that were recently installed, and the careful refurbishing of the upper story windows.

Pre-World War II photographs of the Bohm are hard to come by. There is one in the 1932 book "Albion’s Milestones and Memories" on page 86 which is an excellent resource to learn how the building originally looked when it opened in 1929.

This week from our Historical Notebook we present a 1940 photograph of the Bohm taken during the downtown brick reconstruction project. I’d like to make some observations for our readers. To the right of the Bohm of course is the Nick Kostianes (no relation to the other one) Soda shop, a popular gathering place for many years. Today this is the site of the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce and the Albion Community Foundation.

Mr. George Bohm was a smart businessman. He included some small retail areas in his big building to supplement the regular movie business income and help with expenses. On the right side of the Bohm we see the AAA insurance company sign at 201 ½ S. Superior St. The AAA was managed by H. A. Malott, with Lillian Frank as secretary. It was located here during the 1940s and most of the 1950s. In this photo, the end of the awing states "Automobile Club of Michigan." During the 1960s many of our readers may remember this was the site of the Camera Shop, operated by Robert Morrison. You’d walk into the place and hand the clerk your roll of film to be developed, and come back a week later to get your photographs and negatives.

On the far left side of the Bohm (north) where the concession stand area is, was the Martin Barber Shop. It was operated by Warren F. Martin (1888-1946). There is a barber pole mounted in front outside of the building. It is listed as 121 S. Superior St. in the 1941 Albion City Directory, and the Bohm Theatre is listed as 125 and also 201 S. Superior St.

As for the Bohm itself, notice the original marquee is still present in 1940. This is smaller than the current one which contains a large area for signage and hides portions of the front façade. There is also a small entrance awning overhead. The 1932 photo shows lettering on the sides, listing the current movies, but no such side lettering is found here in this photo. The support cables in the 1932 photo are much lower than those shown here. This 1940 photo shows the cables towards the top of the windows, which match those of today’s marquee. My opinion is the 1932 photo awning area is doctored as the lettering is illegible.

In this photo you can see the contrasting colors on the front of the building, especially around the windows. Unfortunately, below are sewer pipes laying upright in the street and other construction materials for the street project which blocks the view of the ground level in this photo.

We hope the Bohm will be able to sustain itself for normal maintenance and upkeep after the renovations are done. We hope the Bohm is not gradually left to deteriorate like our railroad depot has been doing, a generation after the late Mary Cram and others had worked so hard in 1986 to get that landmark restored.


Bohm Theatre, circa 1940s

Next: 1956 FUTURE CITIZENS OF THE PAST


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