Ontonagon Theatre

Address: 501 River Street
City: Ontonagon
State: MI
Zip: 49953
County: Ontonagon
Open: 1937
Capacity: 700
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 8683
Notes:

The original Rex and the Rex that became the Ontonagon were the same business but apparently not the same building. The August 27, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said that contracts had been let for the construction of a 600-seat theater for J.J. Clark, operator of the Rex Theatre in Ontonagon. The September 11, 1937, issue of Boxoffice said the new theater was under construction, and that owner John J. Clark was planning a formal opening to take place on Thanksgiving.

The October 9, 1937, issue listed “…J.J. Clark’s new 700-seat Ontonagon house….” in a list of recently opened theaters in the region, so it must have been completed ahead of schedule. The wording of the earlier articles suggests that the original Rex was not closed while the new theater was being built (though possibly this was just an omission) so it might have had a different address. A 1938 Boxoffice item indicates that the new house opened under the name Rex Theatre (though this could have been an error by the magazine.)

The September 30, 1950, issue of Boxoffice has an interesting item about El-Leen Clark, J.J.’s daughter, then assisting her father in running the Ontonagon Theatre. It says that her mother, Sarah, who had died the previous year, had been the projectionist at the theater for 30 years, so the original Pastime/Rex had probably opened no later than 1919.

The August 21 Boxoffice item said that the architect of the new theater was N. Albert Nelson. Nelson was also the architect of the Ironwood Theatre, Ironwood, Michigan. [Joe Vogel Cinema Treasures]

The theater operated in one form or another until the 1960's when it was closed. After that, the structure was converted to a bank in 1967.

Info Updates:
10/16/2011 - Sheri
The building to the left of the bank is no longer there. It is a parking lot. The Rex theater didn't close until in the 1960's as my husband watched movies there when he was young and he was born in 1957.
4/28/2011 - Edith Jones Nowak
The building that is to the left of the bank in the listed picture used to be Muskratt's department store. It was two store fronts-one side was the men's department and the other side was the women's department. I have not been in Ontonagon for 45 years but hope to visit there this summer to see all the changes.
10/1/2003 - Unknown
This old downtowner doesnt look like much after being converted to a bank but it served the community well for over 30 years and may have been the only theatre in the county.
 Photos:14
Ontonagon Theatre - Photo from early 2000's
Photo from early 2000's
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD PHOTO
OLD PHOTO
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD PHOTO
OLD PHOTO
Ontonagon Theatre - AD AS REX
AD AS REX
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Ontonagon Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Ontonagon Theatre - 14 APR 1914, PAGE 3 - THE CALUMET NEWS
14 APR 1914, PAGE 3 - THE CALUMET NEWS
Ontonagon Theatre - APRIL 21 1961 ARTICLE MANAGER PASSES AWAY
APRIL 21 1961 ARTICLE MANAGER PASSES AWAY
Ontonagon Theatre - JAN 19 1955 AD
JAN 19 1955 AD
Ontonagon Theatre - MAY 10 1967 ARTICLE
MAY 10 1967 ARTICLE
Ontonagon Theatre - OCT 29 1957 BUILDING WORK
OCT 29 1957 BUILDING WORK
Ontonagon Theatre - OCT 30 1937 OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT
OCT 30 1937 OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT
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