319 S. Michigan Street,
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I finally found some information on this old theater after extensively searching the web and getting nowhere. By luck, I found mention of this theater while going through the South Bend Civic Theater’s website. It turns out that a downtown development firm called Downtown South Bend, Inc. owns the old Avon building and is either giving it or selling it to the South Bend Civic Theater group.
Sadly, it sounds like the South Bend Civic Theater group is going to raze the Avon and build two new theaters on the spot including a little 100-150 seat theater and a larger 300 seat theater. At least they’re using the land for a theater, though. I emailed the director of the South Bend Civic Theater group and he provided me with this information. I also learned from him that the Avon does have a newer roof and one re-enforced side wall but that the interior is in lousy condition.
He reports that the Avon was built around 1926 and was originally called the Strand Theater. It was originally built as a movie house, was outfitted for sound in 1929, and ceased operations as a theater in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It has been vacant ever since as far as I can tell.
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