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.


Morning Star, March 13, 2011, pg. 9

We are sorry to learn that Merrittís General Store in downtown Devereaux is closing. There has been a general store here since the 1870s when Devereaux was founded. With it goes the history of Devereaux.

With the demolition of the old Commercial Hotel building looming after the Moose Lodge (LOOM) is supposed to vacate it for a destination yet unknown, I thought our readers might like to know about some of the businesses which have been located in this important downtown building at 106-108 W. Porter St. Weíll focus on 106 this week.

During the early 1900s silent films were sweeping the country and soon movie theatres were opening everywhere, including in Albion. It was in June, 1915 that Albion native George Bohm (1890-1951) opened his first Bohmís Theatre at 106 W. Porter St. in the old Commercial Hotel building. This was in the east half of the first floor, next to the arched tunnel and catwalk of the adjoining Eslow Block. The west half of the first floor was 108 W. Porter St. and later housed the Art Craft Press. The old Bohm location later became the Red Arrow Cafť operated by Jay Ganka during the 1920s and 1930s.

The Bohm showed silent films, and a live piano player provided the music during the films. The big draw at Bohmís first theatre, however, was the Bohm Saxophone Quartette which George formed at that location. The Quartette consisted of George, his brothers Albert and Gustav, and sister Mayta. Their group also played across southern Michigan for various events.

Bohmís Theatre was only here for a little over year. In 1916 George purchased the Censor Theatre at 223 S. Superior St. from Clarence Fiske. The Censor was located in the Opera House building at 223 S. Superior St. George thereby closed his W. Porter St. location and thereby operated the Censor Theater. It operated at that location until Christmas, 1929 when the newly built Bohm Theater opened. The name Bohm Theatre was thereby return to downtown.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1916 photo of the original Bohmís Theatre at 108 W. Porter St. Notice the alley archway on the right.

1916 photo of the original Bohmís Theatre at 108 W. Porter St.


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