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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...



This brick theater was built by Beecher about 1913. Originally named Beecher's, it appears in the city directories as such in 1914 and 1915. In 1916, the theater is listed as Poisson's for the first time. Joseph H. Poisson had purchased the business from Beecher in 1915 at the age of 50, after years of helping his father with the Ramona Park boat operations. The family ran a livery, a live bait shop, a marina, and a steamboat excursion service at Reeds Lake. Capt. Bill Poisson was the last person to pilot such a boat, the Ramona, in the mid-1950's. (Juanita Westaby, “From the Depths,” GRP, Tuesday, 04/11/2000, pp. A1 and A4.) Joseph H. Poisson retired from the theater business in 1925. He died on May 21, 1935, at the age of 70, survived by four daughters and two sons. The daughters respectively married Howard T. Reynolds, Oscar Varneau, Roy Muir, and Allen Johnson. Each of them except Muir in turn took control of Poisson's theater operations until they were ready to go out on their own. Of the two sons, Jerome C. and Joseph B. Poisson, it is known that Joseph B. worked for Allen Johnson in the late 1930's as manager of the Royal. In 1956, the property was owned by Gladys Vandecar of 1143 Turner N.W., and had an assessed valuation of $9,100. The building stands on a lot 25' x 125', with 3,375 square feet of land area.

Full Details

Address419 Leonard ST NW 49504
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow
Also Known AsBeecher's
Locationlocation on map

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