The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 24, 2021 1:00 am

State to honor silent film star from Garrett

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

John Bowersox performed in amateur plays in Huntington but had a debut on Broadway in 1912 and two years later appeared in his first film.

On Saturday, his acting adventures and other career experiences will be commemorated with a historical marker installation in Garrett.

The public dedication ceremony for the silent film actor who eventually became known as John Bowers is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the community room at the Garrett Public Library at South Randolph and West Houston streets.

Attendees will then walk around the corner to Cowen Street, where the marker will be unveiled, a news release said. Parking for the event is available in the library's lot and seating inside the community room is limited.

The Indiana Historical Bureau Division of the Indiana State Library approved the marker in 2019, The Associated Press previously reported.

Bowersox was born and raised in the DeKalb County city. He enjoyed a successful stage career before starring in more than 90 Hollywood movies under the stage name John Bowers. His wife, Maurgerite de la Motte, was also a star, but they were separated when Bowersox died in 1936 following a career slump, AP reported.

“State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history,” a news release this week from the Indiana Historical Bureau said. “These markers help communities throughout the state promote, preserve and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages.”

The bureau has been marking Indiana history for more than 100 years, the release said. Since 1946, the format has been the large roadside marker with a dark blue background, gold lettering and the outline of the state at the top. More than 700 of these markers have been installed.

The new marker in Garrett will be labeled “John Bowersox (Bowers), ca. 1884-1936.” The description of his entertainment industry career will include: “A versatile actor, he frequently starred as a leading man during the silent film era. Bowers appeared in over 90 films, including The Sky Pilot (1921), Lorna Doone (1922), and Chickie (1925).Like other actors of the era, he struggled to transition to talkies. He returned to Indiana briefly in the 1930s and wrote a weekly serial for the Garrett Clipper. In 1960, Bowers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to film.”

Saturday's installation will be the fifth state historical marker in DeKalb County and the second in Garrett, the Historical Bureau said.

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