Dowagiac Theatre

Address: 214 S. Front Street
City: Dowagiac
State: MI
Zip: 49047
County: Cass
Open:
Capacity:
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 7316
Notes: AKA Caruso
Info Updates:
5/3/2021 - Cinema Treasures

The Dowagiac Theatre was gutted by a $100,000 fire on November 22, 1977. The News-Palladium, which published a photo of the fire, noted that it was constructed in the mid-1940’s after being destroyed by fire during World War II.

Sanborn Maps show a theatre was built at this location between 1931 and 1933, nearly across the street from the Century Theatre.

According to Motion Picture Herald, August 14, 1946, Paul Caruso had opened the 400-seat Caruso Theater featuring a crying room. In 1963 it was still called the Caruso Theatre. In 1971 it was operated by Donald White, who opened the new Southtown Twin in St. Joseph in July. On November 23, 1977 the Dowagiac Theatre was gutted by a fire.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

3/8/2019 - Elizabeth Caruso
My father built this theatre in 1946. It was an empty lot. About a year later it had a major fire. It was determined to be arson. There were already two movie theaters across the street. -The Century and the Chief. Initially the fire chief thought my father might be responsible for insurance purposes until they realized he barely had it insured. After all, it was brand new and state of the art everything. I still have the grand opening newspaper brochure. My father always felt he knew who did it and why. When the locals started going to South Bend and Benton Harbor, he decided to sell it in 1963, when I was in the 9th grade. Then in 1977, it caught on fire again -far worse than in 1947 or '48. It held a definite important part of Dowagiac history.
11/17/2017 - Antonio Caruso Jr.
the Caruso theater was built and owned by Paul Caruso in 1946 and run by him until it was distroyed by a fire. Paul was my brother.
9/13/2017 - Jami Chavez
That building is now a dance studio, also the building that Century Theatre was in is now a gym called Fit Stop which is where I currently work. I have been trying to get more info on the building and what was inside it. If you have any photos or info I would really like to see them.
4/10/2010 - Ami Caruso Greenway
This was my father''s business. The Caruso Theater, it was built in 1946 for my father Paul Caruso. At this time I am uncertain about relevant data to do with it''s history. It was sold by my farther in 1965. Further details will be added as they are obtained. Pictures If available will also be added.
3/28/2005 - Marnie S. Plucienik
In late 2004, the marquee and brick facade of this now-vacant building were torn off. We dont know as yet the future plans for the building itself.
10/26/2003 - Marnie S. Plucienik
This was the last indoor theater to exist in Dowagiac, until it was gutted by fire in the late 1970s. It has since housed a sandwich shop/arcade, a lunch counter, a consignment shop, and is currently a sports collectibles shop. I would suggest that you add a third category for your Dowagiac theaters!
 Photos:9
Dowagiac Theatre - THE CARUSO
THE CARUSO
Dowagiac Theatre - DOWAGIAC THEATERS FROM THE COLLECTION OF ROBERT E PLUCIENIK
DOWAGIAC THEATERS FROM THE COLLECTION OF ROBERT E PLUCIENIK
Dowagiac Theatre - JUNE 18 1981
JUNE 18 1981
Dowagiac Theatre - JAN 23 1980
JAN 23 1980
Dowagiac Theatre - JAN 26 1982
JAN 26 1982
Dowagiac Theatre - JUNE 18 1981
JUNE 18 1981
Dowagiac Theatre - JUNE 2 1982
JUNE 2 1982
Dowagiac Theatre - NOV 23 1977
NOV 23 1977
Dowagiac Theatre - OCT 17 1950 ARTICLE ON TAX
OCT 17 1950 ARTICLE ON TAX
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