The Schwartz building was originally constructed and operated as the Dover Opera House in 1904 where they produced mostly live vaudeville performances as well as serving as a political venue for speeches and other play formats. In 1923, the Dover Opera House was purchased by Mr. George M. Schwartz and he renamed it the Capitol Theater.
Mr. Schwartz updated the theater with a projection room and box office to meet the changing demands of the Dover area by providing the increasingly popular moving picture shows. The Capitol Theater was a successful family business. At the time of his death in 1942, George’s wife, Reba and daughter, Muriel took over the management of the theater. The theater did well and was a local favorite for Doverites of all ages. As multi-plex theaters began to open, the business closed and the building fell into a state of disrepair.
A revitalization effort began years later. Ms. Schwartz donated much of the equity in the building to the effort. The restoration project began in February 1998. By, October 2001 the completion of the project arrived. Friends of the Capitol Theater, Inc. bestowed the name Schwartz Center for the Arts in a beautiful homage to Muriel Schwartz. That month, the Schwartz Center for the Arts opened its doors to the delight of residents throughout Dover, Kent County and Delaware!