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The Dawn Theater

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The Dawn has stood at the center of downtown Hillsdale, Michigan since it opened its doors on September 4, 1919 premiering with "Oh Boy!," a silent movie. Originally part of the W.S. Butterfield Theater chain throughout Michigan, the Dawn featured moving pictures and vaudevillian presentations to local community members. One of the first stage productions at the Dawn was "Robin Hood" and the performers found it necessary to change costume among the tombstones of the Tasker Monument store next door. Originally, the Dawn also housed a $6,280 theater organ which still exists to this day. People young and old flocked to the Dawn to see some of film's greatest classics when they were first released such as Casablanca and Gone With the Wind.

As the golden age of film began to fade and multiplex cinemas were built in every suburban community, the old glory of the dawn theater also declined. Despite its diminished popularity, many Hillsdale citizens fondly remember going to movies at the Dawn well through the 1980′s. In the late 90′s its name was changed to the Roxy Theater when owners pursued the venue as a dance nightclub.

Vacant and derelict since 2004, the Dawn was purchased in 2008 by three community members including current owner and downtown renovator Dr. Jeffrey T. Horton. Horton, who also owns and is renovating the original Keefer Hotel of downtown Hillsdale, seeks to restore both buildings to their former glory and service to the community.

Today The Dawn Theater is a vibrant and lively entertainment venue and charming host to many private functions and parties. Thanks to the continued efforts of it's current owners and management, once again it will become the familiar attraction it used to be for Hillsdale County decades ago. Renovation is an arduous and expensive process and any volunteer help would be much appreciated by management and restoration staff at the Dawn.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed


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