Saugatuck’s Big Pavilion was opened July 4, 1909, situated on the Kalamazoo River not far from the Hotel Saugatuck (today the Coral Gables Restaurant and Bar). The huge dance floor was under a nearly 70-foot arched ceiling, with colored lights that changed colors and flashed along to the music. The Pavilion also later contained a popular restaurant, the Dock, as well as a roller skating rink.
In 1913, a 400-seat movie theater was built in the Big Pavilion. It was wired for sound in 1930, and was listed as (Closed) in the 1941 and 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook. In the 1950’s a CinemaScope screen was installed and seating increased to 700. On May 4, 1960, the Big Pavilion was completely destroyed in a spectacular fire.
Contributed by Bryan Krefft