Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Once Beautiful Theatre

Since the year 2000 my husband has had season tickets to the Tigers baseball games. I tell you this because of the photos I am sharing with you below. The pictures are of the Michigan Theatre which was built in 1929 and was one of the premier movie houses of it's time. The first photo is a rare color one showing the entrance or main lobby from the 1970's and was taken a few years before it closed it doors as a movie theatre. Sadly this building is now a parking garage and it is where my husband and I park whenever we attend a Tigers game. I would love to wander around the building as it is only partially demolished. Some of the stairs and balconies are still intact but I never get enough courage to disappear and snap some cool photos. These photos were taken on a trip downtown with a friend of mine to abandon some art for the DIA. We got permission from the guard to sneak in via the lobby in the next building for 5 minutes to take pictures. 

Lobby ceiling and balcony which has stairs leading to the mezzanine. The colors are now faded from a bold red to a somber pink but you can still recognize the details of the plasterwork. The columns are still the same color so I believe that they are some sort of real stone. (Marble maybe?)

Lobby ceiling and balcony on the opposite end. 

A shot of the lobby ceiling as seen from the stage in the main parking lot. For those of you that may have watched the short lived series Detroit 187 this building was used in a drug bust in one of the early episodes. 

This is a close-up of the stage area and the beautiful plaster work that still exists in the building. If you look closely at the bottom left hand corner of the photo you can still see some of the red velvet curtains which hang in tatters around the stage opening. 

As you can see from this period photo taken sometime in the 30's the actual stage was breathtaking. It's no wonder they used to call them "movie palaces" and a crying shame that this one was partly demolished to be made into a parking garage. Maybe some day it will be restored or made better use of. 


Sarah said...

It is a shame that no money is available for the restoration of these beautiful buildings. Thanks for sharing.

Paper Squirrel said...

Detroit has so many (once) beautiful buildings that are now just left to decay and crumble. I'm saddened every time I drive I-75 and see the old train station. Just a shadow of its former glory...really just like Detroit as a whole. As a native Michiganian and Detroit metro resident myself, I really hope that someday soon the city will be able to make a turn around and be the booming metropolis it once was.
Thanks for sharing the photos. :-)

Anonymous said...

My sister who lived in the Detroit area told me about this "parking garage" and I remember being so sad that such a beautiful building was used in such a manner.