Another Piece of History Gone With Demolotion of Kalamazoo’s Campus Theater
50 years ago it was Kalamazoo's brand new state-of-the-art movie theater. In a couple more days, the Campus Theater will be a vacant lot, and before long, yet another drug store.
When I was growing up, my dad would bring home the Kalamazoo Gazette, and the first thing I'd do is absorb the sports section and the Tigers' box score. The second thing was to check the movie theaters. Kalamazoo had three. And those movie theaters, The State, The Capital and the Campus, had a grand total of one screen each. That was still one more choice than we had on TV, where there were two channels.
The Campus Theater Opened in 1966 at the corner of Michigan and Howard on the WMU campus. It was the first theater to be built since 1938 in the greater Kalamazoo area! It seated 1000 people! But just a few years later, along came the multi-screen theaters and VCR's, and the big theater was obsolete. It closed at the end of 1984. Since then, it has been renovated into various business ventures including a nightclub, fitness gym, coffee shop & video rental store. Remember Electric Avenue? It was THE place for a while.
WKFR's Dave Benson posts: " In the late 1980’s with KFR personalities, like Jerry “The Bonehead” Balletta and Andy Grant hosting “Club 103″ on Saturday nights. After a period of time, the nightclub became Graffiti’s, and then Rick’s Cafe Americain. Eventually the building became Video Hits Plus, a two story video store that was know for a large selection of videos, along with a cafe."
Many are sharing memories and photos on the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook page.
The Capitol Theater (once known as "The Majestic Theater" was on South Street, near Farmer's Alley. The 1200+ seat theater closed in 1974 to make way for a parking ramp.
It's sad to see these things go. So many memories are tied to them. Times change, and the American attitude to preserving these things is different than the view in other countries. So now our great State Theater is the only one left of all the old-time movie theaters. We should all make sure we support and revere that old place, or it might end up the next parking ramp, drug store, or fake water fall. (Battle Creek people know what that one means).