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The Garden theatre

The Garden Theatre building was built in 1915 by Bill Arthur, after a bad fire in 1909 destroyed many buildings in this section of town. A balcony was added in 1919.

The newspaper reported that the theater had 545 seats and in addition to silent movies and boxing and wrestling matches, vaudeville shows came through on a regular circuit as well. It featured 10 under-the-stage dressing rooms for performers and the Barton Theater Organ (purchased in 1927) entertained early arrivals.

The first "talkie" movie premiered in Marshall in 1930, "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolsen. The next year William G. Thick purchased the building, removed the under-stage dressing rooms and added a beautiful marquee.

When he first bought the building, his sons Bob (20) and Garth (16) would accompany organist Maureen Purcell with their trumpets as she played the organ. The organ was sold and removed sometime in the 1960's but it has returned to Michigan Avenue and still entertains Marshall visitors, now at the Mole Hole.

Thick sold the building in 1956, but kept his other movie theater, the BoGar, named after his two sons.

The Garden Theatre building has been reconfigured many times before, during, and since it was a theatre. With two floors and multiple entrances, several different businesses could occupy it at the same time. Over the years it has sold clothing and shoes, housed the Marshall Post Office and Western Union Station, and in 1926, a young Dr. Heindenreich opened his dental practice here.

Over the years, the western side of the building has sold shoes, baked goods, candy, fruit, cigars, Armenian rugs, pianos and, as shown above, tea.

The building served as the first home for the Marshall Civic Players, from 1957 until 1970, when the building sold and the MCPs moved to the Franke Center for the Arts.

In 1970 it became the Gambles store, and from 1983-1992 it was the Fashion Crossroads.

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Images courtesy of "A History of Marshall" by Richard Carver and the Marshall Civic Players.