Lona Theatre - Mancelona MI 

Address: 129 W State St
City: Mancelona
State: MI
Zip: 49659
County: Antrim
Owner History:
Theater Type: Small Town Movie Palace
Number of visits to this page: 13181

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance, features, addresses, phone numbers, or contact names of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

I had a photo posted earlier that turned out to be incorrect in terms of where the theater was. I have since found an actual photo of the place on the Facebook page for Mancelona history. I also found obituaries for some folks who were connected with the theater. One from 1957 was for Emma Mae Guthrie who was the former operator. Another was from 2015 for Harold Wilfong whose family owned the place in the late 50's and early 60's.

The Family Theater name comes in the 70's when it was mentioned they lowered prices. The theater showed the Steve McQueen classic "Bullitt" in 1969 as the Lona but a 1976 article has the "Family" name. King Chuck indicates the BP station is where the theater was. After analyzing the photos I found he is right. Several buildings in the downtown stretch have been demolished. I will use the BP address for reference (see comparison photo analysis below).

2 commenters indicated the theater building burned after a distraught high school student rammed into the building during a police chase, causing a fire. I searched for news articles on that and found nothing however.

I also don't know if the Owego in Mancelona is the same theater either. The only mention of an Owego theater I have found is in Deckerville. I saw no reference of the Owego in any of the historical materials I found for the town. That doesn't rule it out because lots of historical information omits mentions of theaters for some reason.

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Info Updates:
2/22/2009 - arts tavern
Actually, the theatre burned down in the early '80's. I want to say 1981. But it was the result of a police chase with a person that I knew from high school. I do not recall him being drunk at the time, but distraught. But the theatre did burn down, I recall it being converted from a movie theatre to a disco in the late 70's.
2/9/2004 - King Chuck
In its final years, the Lona was a family theatre as the Mancelona Family Theatre, showing only G and PG films. The theatre would also feature school dances. Sadly, a drunk driver crashed his car into the theatre around 1978 and it caught fire. It was never rebuilt. Today, a BP station sits in its spot.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
June 1959 - Harold Wilfong is now the owner of the Lona at Mancelona, formerly operated by Pat Guthrie, with Clive Waxman as film buyer.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
May 1960 - Harold Wilfong is running three changes in the Lona at Mancelona.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
May 1959 Issue - Pat Guthrie closed the Lona Theatre at Mancelona.
Lona Theatre - Old Photo From Mancelona History Facebook Page
Old Photo From Mancelona History Facebook Page
Lona Theatre - Comparison Of Old Photo To Current Street View
Comparison Of Old Photo To Current Street View
Lona Theatre - 14 Jan 1976
14 Jan 1976
Lona Theatre - 1969 Ad For Theater
1969 Ad For Theater
Lona Theatre - 2015 Obit For Son Of Theater Owner
2015 Obit For Son Of Theater Owner
Lona Theatre - 23 Feb 1976 Ad
23 Feb 1976 Ad
Lona Theatre - 28 Oct 1957 Former Operator Passes Away
28 Oct 1957 Former Operator Passes Away
Lona Theatre - Traverse City Record Eagle Jul 1 1972
Traverse City Record Eagle Jul 1 1972
Lona Theatre - Traverse City Record Eagle Jul 29 1969
Traverse City Record Eagle Jul 29 1969
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