Somewhere when the calendar proclaimed 1948, 1949 or 1950
Carma Theatre week continues on Bluffton Forever with a photo, as our best guess was snapped sometime between 1948 to 1950. And, in keeping with the times, it's a photo by an unknown photographer in black and white, just like the movies of the era.
We base the late 1940s time frame on several points including that on the style of Ford truck parked on the street.
We believe that the woman is Elvira Niswander Suter. She is Dean Niswander’s sister. The photo was taken in front of the C.F. Niswander store, which was removed when Citizens National Bank expanded.
There are no other vehicles on the street, so our guess is that the photo must have been taken on a Sunday. Looks like Elvira she is wearing a uniform of some sort.
In the early 1950s, the Carma usually showed movies about three weeks after the release date. We can’t make out the movie title on the marquee, but if a viewer can determine the year and the month of this photo the movie title surely could be narrowed down.
There’s one additional way to date this photo, according to Rudi Steiner of Homewood, Illinois.
He told us, “I don’t see a dog on the roof of the CARMA. The late Charles Hilty recorded that the dog’s name as, “Sparky,” a pet of Lynn Carmack who lived above the theatre with his parents.
According to Hilty, a Bluffton High School and Masonic friend of Carmack, Spanky died in 1954.
Also seen in this photo is the A & P Grocery and Leiber’s Jewelry’s. If you examine this photo more closely you will see the ticket booth on the outside of the theatre. It was removed in the late 1950s.