301 Main Street,
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The Victoria Theater opened in 1923 with 592 seats. It has been in almost continuous use ever since and was renamed Garden Theater, prior to 1941.
Since around 1980, the building fell into great disrepair, including a failed steam boiler heating system, allowing for only summer operation. In June 2008, the Garden Theater was purchased by a group of community members with intent of renovating the building and giving life back to this Northern Michigan treasure.
After a few ‘bandages’ were applied during the summer months, the Garden Theater closed for extensive renovations in October 2008. Throughout the winter and spring, an incredible transformation took place and on June 18, 2009, the Garden Theater re-opened with great fanfare.
A new state-of-art heating and cooling system was added. The sound was upgraded to Dolby 5 channel digital. Brand new seats from Irwin Seating in Grand Rapids were installed and the entire assembly area was restored to its original Art Deco style brilliance. The renaissance of the Garden Theater is underway thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours, seat investors, and the incredible spirit of the local community! An army of volunteer painters took on the incredible task of replicating the many damaged Art Deco style ceiling tiles. Special thanks to John Vinkemulder, Peggy Hawley, Mary Armstrong, and Lynn Petti for their leadership of the project.
The Garden Theater will continue to show first run movies, expanding to independent films, foreign cinema and an Annual Film Festival. Live theater and music are also part of the future one improvements are made to the existing stage.
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