A look at the fire damaged Lebowsky Center
OWOSSO, MI — On Saturday, February 17, I took pictures of the fire damaged Joseph H. Lebowsky Center to view the extent of the damage myself. The fire began on stage and quickly spread to the theater itself, causing the roofs of the stage and the theater to cave in. The front part of the theater building escaped major damage. The walls of the stage seem intact, but the west wall of the theater facing Park Street shows the reason why the temporary wall was erected.
Park Street was still closed alongside the theater. A web site devoted to Shiawassee County, Michigan history has an updated page about the Capitol Theatre/Lebowsky Center which has an aerial photo showing the extent of the theater’s damage.
It is interesting to note that the Capitol Theatre was renamed to honor the Owosso businessman who built it. His legal surname was “Lebowsky” and he was Jewish. His Yahrzeit (Memorial) plaque is at Temple Beth El in Flint, MI where he was a member. But in Owosso, he spelled his name “Lebowski” apparently to make him seem more Polish than Jewish. If you look at the “Joseph H. Lebowsky Center” letters on the facade, you may notice that the “Y” is a different shade of gold. That’s because it replaced the “I”.
I write the online Flinn’s Journal column for the Water Winter Wonderland web site about Michigan attractions at and my next column in March will be about the Lebowsky Center. I hope by that time to learn the theater’s fate. We all pray that it can be rebuilt.
(Thanks to Gary for providing the photos.)