Annex Theater

8990 Grand River Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48204

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Annex Theatre, Detroit - floor plan

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Annex, or Riviera Annex, as it was called when it first opened in 1927, was designed by John Eberson to accomodate overflow crowds at his Grand Riviera (later called just the Riviera) up Grand River Avenue.

It could seat 1824, and was designed in an atmospheric style, matching the original Riviera’s. It also contained an organ and a small stage, which most likely was never used.

In an unusual layout, this one-floor theater contained something called a "mezzanine lounge". Some believe that the original design for the Annex called for a full balcony, but it was never added.

In another quirky move, Eberson had the projection booth placed under the main stairway leading up to the mezzanine level.

The Annex closed its doors in 1949 due to declining attendance, and was demolished around 1960.

The site is today occupied by a school of cosmetology.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

sdoerr
sdoerr on November 8, 2004 at 8:30 pm

This link will take you to a photo of the Riviera and the Annex.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 18, 2004 at 5:31 pm

The opening date of the Annex Theatre was 4th February 1927.

Divinity
Divinity on December 19, 2004 at 5:43 pm

So much detail was put in the rear of the auditorium. What a tragedy.

Russr
Russr on August 31, 2007 at 12:18 am

Actually, the Annex Theater in Detroit had to have been demolished in the mid 50’s. I was born in l945 and went to the Riveria Theater almost every Saturday, standing in the long line with my cousins and paying the quarter to get in. The Riveria had two concession stands (one in the balcony).

We moved from Detroit to Dearborn Heights in l958. But I can remember being a kid about 10 or 11 and standing near the about half of the Annex as the wrecking ball hung by. I was amased at the balcony boxes all around the remaining Grand River side. It reminded me later of Ford Theater where Lincoln was shoot. My only regret was that I never went inside the Annex when it was in operation.

One more tidbit before I shut up. South on Grand River on the other west side was a little second rate theater called “the Victory”. They showed movies for NINE CENTS (That’s right). I remember seeing the original War of the Worlds there. It was near the old Stark Hickory Ford Dealership.
Russ Rheaume ()

carismith
carismith on January 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

My Grandmother Laurine Bowen White was the Manager of the Rivera Theatre. And my mother Patricia White and aunts Sue and Faye also worked for the theatre along with my uncle Richard. Before it became a motion picture theatre they hosted Broadway musicals like “My Fair Lady” with Judi Garland. I know that the first time my mother ever met Jerry Lewis, she accidently walked into his dressing room to find him in his boxer shorts.lol My mother Patricia said she the theatre was her second home, she spent so much time there. She worked the concession and whatever else my Grandmother needed her to do. When my grandmother was alive, I remember her telling stories about Miss Judy Garland, and other actors like Jerry Lewis. I have told my mother of this site in hopes she can tell a few stories and share some old memories. Now that she see’s my comment she probably will.

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