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Old 10-26-2009, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Bucksport, Maine and northern Florida
78 posts, read 149,556 times
Reputation: 27
Default The Bohm Theatre in Albion

Hi all,

Could anyone tell me a little bit about the Bohm Theatre in Albion?

At this writing, it would appear that it has closed it's doors within the past year or so. I would be interested to know what was the main reason(s) for the closure.
Was it lack of patrons due to our economy?
Was it the general negative population growth?

Could you tell me a little about what it's like inside the theatre? does it have the older stage like the theatres of the early 20th century?

Thanks in advance.

Ralph M Bohm
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:53 PM
 
5,278 posts, read 5,444,472 times
Reputation: 5092
Well I'm from Albion and went to theather there as a child in the 60s. At that time you entered through double main doors to a "hallway" (What created the hallway was a half wood, half glass wall that had curtains over the glass) that had wide stairways to the right and left to the balcony. Also going either right or left led you do the open entries to the main theater floor which had red velvet theater seats, an orchestra pit, large stage, some somewhat ornate gilded cornice pieces high high in the ceilings.
Albion took major hits as did much of the Midwest in the 70s during the Oil embargo and all that. The first big hits for the auto manufacturing industries.
Some places recovered or recovered somewhat. I wouldn't say Albion ever did. Its been sliding ever since.
I left in 1975. I think the Bohm closed sometime in the 70s for the first time. The last time I went they had partitioned off the balcony into 2 tiny theaters with separate screens, apparently in an attempt to show more movies at a time. It was a place of drug use and scary activities. My Mother still lives there and over the years when I go back I see it has opened, then closed, then open, then closed.
I have no idea what happened to all the beautiful wood, gilding, etc. But if you called the Gardener Museum, the Library or some other city entity they could probably turn you on to people who have tried to keep it going over the years.
Loved the Bohm, many movie memories there.
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Bucksport, Maine and northern Florida
78 posts, read 149,556 times
Reputation: 27
Hello Gisela,

Thank you kindly for your time in replying.

Wow, I sure didn't know about the drug use. You must have meant drug use inside the theatre itself, yes? What a shame.

I've sent a detailed message to the Albion Chamber of Commerce but they haven't replied.

I have since found some photos of the interior and can concur that it looked like quite a beautiful place to go to watch movies and stage performances as well. But, I didn't know it had an orchestra pit.

By the way, I DID see in some of the photos (on Flickr, just do a search for "Bohm Theater") the Barton Organ; whether or not it's still there, I do not know but by the photos, it looks quite in sad shape in its own right.

Well, this is quite a building and I am becoming more and more sure that it is a project that may be a by over my head at this time.

Ralph M Bohm
Bucksport, Maine
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:00 AM
 
128 posts, read 441,663 times
Reputation: 38
For the time that I was there, Albion College must have been paying for a majority of the Bohm theater. We students attended for free and then the college must have decided it was not worth the expense to keep it open. It closed not long after I graduated in 2005.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Bucksport, Maine and northern Florida
78 posts, read 149,556 times
Reputation: 27
A shame it is.
Well, for the time being, my time has been spoken for by my career and an old 1935 Cape Cod-style home i have in Maine.

Unless something drastic happens with my home, I cannot see a chance to get more involved with the Bohm Theater in Albion. I has initially tried contacting the present owners of the theater but they did not seem very compelled to return my calls. so no real inroads were made towards bringing the theater back to life.

Ralph
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:23 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,246 times
Reputation: 10
Default Director@albiondda.org

Ralph-I do hope you check back to this site. I just now found it and would love to answer your questions.
The theatre was last closed in 2008. Basically, the owner, who had tried to sell the theatre several times, always ended up getting it back. I was working with him 3 years ago to get a facade grant from the State to make repairs to the back wall (which has bricks falling off of it, and vegetation growing out of it). When it came time for him to pony up the back taxes before proceeding, he ended up walking away from the building. It was in the contract with the previous prospect to pay the taxes due each year; when he found out they hadn't been paid, he figured enough was enough. There's a whole saga of stuff I could tell you, but at this point the Albion Downtown Development Authority and the Albion Community Foundation have teamed up to lead a restoration of
the theatre. Please go to our website at: [URL="http://www.bohmtheatre.org"]www.bohmtheatre.org[/URL]. Even if you have limited resources, we could still use your help in bringing this landmark back to its former beauty and center of activity. Just getting in contact with you would be great! We could use a letter from you with your signature to help in the support of this project. Please contact me at: [EMAIL="director@albiondda.org"]director@albiondda.org[/EMAIL].
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