Tibbits Opera House

Address: 14 S Hanchett St
City: Coldwater
State: MI
County: Branch
Open: 1882
Capacity: 499
Owner History: Unknown
Number of visits to this page: 11367
Info Updates:
2/14/2021 - Andy Gray
Between 1934 and 1956 my maternal grandfather, Albert S. ("Al") Johnson, built and remodeled theaters and drive-ins throughout Michigan. His company was called the Johnson Construction Co., and it was based out of Birmingham. His first theater job, according to records compiled by his son A.S. Johnson Jr. (my "Uncle Bud"), was a remodel of the Tibbits Theatre, in Coldwater, which Johnson completed in 1934. The Tibbits, which opened originally as the Tibbits Opera House in 1882, later began showing silent films and eventually "talkies." This photo, taken by Al Johnson in June 1948 fourteen years after his remodel job, shows the theater still in its 1934 "art deco" or "art moderne" style. The theater has since been restored to its original opera house style and is open to this day. Johnson theater work became something of a family affair. My dad (Doug Gray) and paternal grandfather (Robie Gray) both worked for Johnson on theater and drive-in jobs for many years - as did Al's son Bud Johnson. Dad related to me that during one theater renovation job, an old car (a Model T or earlier model) was discovered at the back of the original theater stage when an interior wall was removed. The car had been used as a prop for a theater production and had been left in place during an earlier renovation. When it was discovered, the theater owner assumed ownership and had the car delivered to his house. I'm almost certain that this story referred to the 1934 Tibbits Theatre project.
12/30/2008 - Executive Director
Tibbits operates year round with a host of professional and community events. It is well recognized for its professional summer theatre program.
To correct an an earlier post. The original glorious facade was changed in the mid 1930s when the theatre was turned into a movie house. In the 60s the movie facade was taken down and covered with a brick facade to protect the original until it could be properly restored. There were never stained glass windows in the large openings of the theatre.
4/12/2008 - Ron Gross
In comparing the first two photos, I''m a little confused. in the old photo, the main entry is at street level. In the current photo, it is much higher with stairs. Did they raise the entry, or lower the street!?
3/19/2008 - Development Director, Tibbits Opera House
Tibbits Opera House is pleased to announce that we have successfully raised over $2 million dollars toward the Restoration Campaign from its inception in 2000. The campaign has been broken down into phases. Phase I & Phase II have been completed. Phase I included all of the design development documents and Phase II included installing an elevator, accessible restroom, boiler repairs and demolition of the adjacent annex building. Currently we are raising money toward Phase III of the project which is the facade restoration. To date we have completed the Tuckpointing Project within Phase III and we are about to start the Cupola Reconstruction this summer. We continue to move forward in accomplishing our goal of restoring this gem of a theatre.
10/30/2006 - WaterWinterWonderland
The restoration effort has been underway for years with lots of fundraising but not too many tangible results. Millions have been raised towards the 13 million dollar (or so) goal yet the building remains in pretty much the same condition as it has been for many years, especially the exterior. The plywood over the windows replaced what were once amazing stained glass windows. That might be a place to start!
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
January 1959 - The BIll Shulte Circuit has sold 2 houses, closed for some time, the Tibbits at Coldwater which used to play the bigtime as the halfway point between Detroit and Chicago, now being taken over by a local dramatic group, and the Grand at Brighton.
1/6/2003 - Web
The Tibbits Opera House is owned and operated by the Tibbits Opera Foundation and Arts Council, Inc., a nonprofit organization which fosters enrichment of life for all people by preserving the historic opera house and supporting the arts, culture and education.
1/6/2003 - Web
Built in 1882, the Tibbits Opera House is among the oldest theatres in Michigan. Rich in history and ambiance, the theatre even today offers theatre-goers nearly perfect acoustics, an intimate 499-seat setting, and a fine array of performances throughout the year.
Tibbits Opera House - JUNE 1948 FROM AL JOHNSON
Tibbits Opera House - 1907 FROM PAUL
Tibbits Opera House - RECENT PHOTO 2021
Tibbits Opera House - AUDITORIUM SHOT
Tibbits Opera House - AUDITORIUM SHOT
Tibbits Opera House - AUDITORIUM
Tibbits Opera House - OLD PHOTO
Tibbits Opera House - OLD POST CARD
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