Tahqua-Land Theatre

Address: 212 Newberry Ave
City: Newberry
State: MI
County: Luce
Owner History: Unknown
Number of visits to this page: 5573
Info Updates:
9/24/2015 - John McDowell
This appeared recently in the Detroit Free Press. If you go to their web site there are pictures and a video. NEWBERRY – He has given this place everything. And now he might lose it all. Fred Dunkeld is the owner, the ticket taker and the film projectionist at the Tahqua Land Theatre, a tiny movie house built 85 years ago in the middle of the Upper Peninsula. Here in Newberry, the moose capital of Michigan, a builder long ago thought that the people of a small town deserved the kind of magnificent theater usually found in big cities. He outfitted it with decorative moldings and colorful murals, and lit its rooms with chandeliers. Four decades ago, Dunkeld found it abandoned and shuttered, overrun by rats and clogged with coal dust. It was for sale. And he wanted it. At first he just wanted to own a business, to have a source of income. “And then I got looking at it,” he said. He was at the back of the theater one day after he’d bought it, taking it all in as the daylight poured in through the reopened doors. “I remember sitting back here on an old wooden box, a milk crate, saying, ‘Wow, there’s more to this place than I realized. ’ ” He spent a year and a fortune cleaning it out and restoring it to what it once was. He moved into the apartments upstairs and opened an office next door for his day job in real estate. His whole life was here. And anytime he made a big sale, he put the money into his beloved theater to make it better. Then the rug was pulled out from under him. A few years ago, the Hollywood studios that supply movies to theaters announced they were soon switching from film to digital. The big theaters, such as the multiplexes with a dozen screens, handled the cost of the switch easily. But hundreds of small, independent movie houses around the country have struggled to come up with the tens of thousands of dollars needed for the new equipment. Some have succeeded. Some have failed and closed forever. Dunkeld tried twice to raise the funds and fell far short both times. “They did it in Rogers City and Grayling,” he said, noting two Michigan cities where old theaters have raised funds for the conversion. “But there’s just not that much money up here. It’s just a bunch of Yoopers up here. ” There’s no hard deadline from the studios, no official final date for the switch. Every film he gets could be the last one sent to him. So he waits, either for the last show or for a miracle. “About all I do is buy a lottery ticket every week, which I know isn’t going to work,” he said. “But it helps you sleep. ” To see the Tahqua Land Theatre’s Go Fund Me page, go to gofundme. com/tahqualandtheatre.
2/23/2003 - WaterWinterWonderland
Tahqua Land Theatre of Newberry, Michigan is an incredible masterpiece of art. This historical theatre has been restored in a Greek Mythological theme that echoes qualities only seen in Europe. Every detail was painstakingly met with the expertise of master artists and designers. Real Italian Stucco, hand casted plaster mouldings, over 10,000 sheets of Gold Leafing and 11 large scale paintings greet the patrons as they enter the movie theatre.
Tahqua-Land Theatre - Photo from 5/9/2010
Photo from 5/9/2010
Tahqua-Land Theatre - INTERIOR
Tahqua-Land Theatre - POCORN
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