Arts & Entertainment

Academy of Music

East side of S. Rose St., across from Academy St. Built and run as a legitimate theater from May 8, 1882 to June 4, 1919, then as a vaudeville and…

Acadia Theatre

Southwest corner of Portage Street and Washington Street (1308 Portage St.). Claimed to seat 280. Designed by Rockwell A. Leroy and built as a standalone movie house in 1913 by grocer Burton R. Barber.

Airdome Theater

North side of W. Kalamazoo Ave., between N. Rose St. and N. Burdick St. Outdoor theater claiming to seat 2,000, featuring mostly stock, with occasional film novelties. Downtown outdoor “Airdome”…

Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre located on M-96 in Augusta, Michigan is the oldest resident summer stock theater in the state. It was founded in 1946 by Jack and Betty Ebert Ragotzy as the Village Players in Richland, Michigan. Their first play was Charly’s...

Bijou Theatre

East side of S Burdick St., north of South St. Built and run as a vaudeville house from January 22, 1906 to the end of April 1908. Renamed Bijou Dream and…

Capitol Theater

South side of E. South St., east of Burdick St. Originally opened as the Majestic Theatre in 1907. Enlarged and reopened as the Capitol August 30, 1924. Survived as a…

Civic Theatre

Southeast corner of South St. and Park St. The 537 seat Civic Theatre was built in 1931 as a non-professional community theater employing amateur talent, and continues active. The relatively…

Colonial Theatre

East side of S. Burdick St., north of South St. Opened by W.H. Johnson and operated as a film theater from August 24, 1907 to April 2, 1916. Remodeled in…

Douglas Auto Theater

From 1955 until 1985, local movie-goers could watch their favorite films from inside their automobiles at the Douglas Auto Theater, located at 1900 Douglas Avenue. Albert W. Ochs built and…

Early Jazz in Kalamazoo (1917–1925)

Folks weren’t exactly sure what it was or what to call it. At first it was “jass,” a derogatory term that soon came to mean just the opposite. Some called it “wild, weird and woozy.” Others called it “pep,” “ginger,” “snap,” “zippy,” “snappy,”...

Elite Theater

East side of S. Burdick St., south of South St. (207–211 S. Burdick St.) Built and run as a film theater from August 19, 1912 to May 16, 1925. Seating…

Excelsior Roller Rink

East side of Portage St., north of South St. Located behind and beside the residence at 131 Portage St.  (entrance off South St.) Built by Calvin Forbes and operated as a roller skating rink by A.M.…

First Bandstand in Bronson Park

As the popularity of military band music in America grew after the Civil War, so grew the desire of the general public to attend and enjoy open air concert performances. As a result, there became a strong need for suitable outdoor venues where...

Fischer’s Exposition Orchestra

Kalamazoo has long had a strong connection with the production and performance of music. Since the mid-nineteenth century, local, nationally-recognized, and even world-famous instrument makers, educators and performers have actively pursued their...

Fuller Theatre

East side of S. Burdick St., north of South St. Completed from an expansion of the Wonderland and run as a stock, variety and film theater from September 3, 1909…

Garden Theatre

North side of E. South St., between Burdick St. and Farmers Ave. (Farmers Alley). (119 E. South St.) Proposed but never built. In 1913, theater magnate W.S. Butterfield announced plans…

Gem Theater

West side of S. Burdick St., between Main St. (Michigan Ave.) and South St. Originally opened and operated as the Vaudette from Feb 23, 1907 to the end of June…

Grace Tyson

The Tyson family was deeply rooted in Kalamazoo County long before Grace Tyson was born. Herbert Tyson (born about 1812) and Elizabeth D. Tyson (born about 1813) maintained a farm in Climax (Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County) where they raised...

Grand Theatre

NE corner of Kalamazoo Ave. and N. Burdick St. (402 N. Burdick St.). Opened as a budget film theater on July 2, 1933, by Richard P. Early, a Kalamazoo realtor…

Greatest Life Theater

West side of Portage St., between Michigan Ave. and E. South St. (There were no floor plans for a site such as this except a room full of chairs and…

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