Stocking Avenue Theatre

634 Stocking Avenue NW,
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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Stocking Avenue Theater

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Opened as the Brown’s Stocking Avenue Theatre in 1916, it was later renamed the Stocking Avenue Theatre. This was an independent theatre with seating listed at 612. Independent Theatre Exhibitor Services did the booking for this theatre.

The Stocking Avenue Theatre closed in the 1950’s and in now in use as a banquet hall. Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

It still shows up as the guest house in the map photo. Has it been demolished since that photo was taken?

CSWalczak on January 21, 2010 at 10:27 am

A web search for “Marc Stewart’s Guest House” indicates that it is not a B&B but a catering/banquet hall and that weddings, fund raisers, jazz brunches, etc. are and have have been held there. It suggests that the theater was converted for this purpose.

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

It probably shouldn’t say in the intro that the theater is gone. That’s what I was confused about.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 1, 2011 at 5:32 am

Brown’s Stocking Avenue Theatre is listed at this address in the 1922 Grand Rapids City Directory.

Mmilanow on February 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

The theatre ran a radio show in the early to mid 30’s. I guess one could come in and sing in front of a studio audience. My mom woulld often sing and receive free tickets to the theatre as payment. That was a treat as not too many people had money in those hard times. Butternut bread was the sponsor and participants would get a miniature loaf of bread as an added incentive for singing. My mom loved to sing, and I guess she was quite good. She told me that young girls would often sing for free tickets. 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes were tickets. The higher places received more tickets. No money was given out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

A brief biography of Edward N. Brown,original owner of Brown’s Stocking Avenue Theatre, says that he built the house in 1916. Earlier, he had been one of the original partners in the Alcazar Theatre, and had then opened the Fulton Theatre.

aquamanirrigation on March 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

I have a 12" ruler from Brown’s Stocking Ave. Theatre On the front it also has “We (Always) Have the Best in Photoplays” and on the back it has “Cor. Stocking Ave. and Fourth St. and another line that has "The Home of the $30,000 Page Grande Pipe Organ”

Whit1 on September 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

The comment above about the Stocking Theater closing in 1950 is incorrect. It was open, as a theater, at least into the mid 1950s. We went to the Stocking often when we lived at 309 Third St. in the 1950s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm

The earliest mention I’ve found of plans for the Stocking Avenue Theatre are this item from The Moving Picture World of September 4, 1915:

“E. M. Brown, of Grand Rapids, Mich., will at once commence the erection of a new theater on Stocking avenue. It will be 40 by 90 feet, one story high, of brick- construction, seating 500. The architect is Pierre Lindhout.”
An October 9 item in the same journal said that Brown had received a permit for construction of the house.

This web page has a brief biography of architect Pierre Lindhout. It says that there were once eleven theaters of his design in Grand Rapids and claims that the Wealthy Theatre “…is the sole surviving example of this work.” As the Stocking Avenue Theatre’s building is still standing, the authors of the page must mean that the Wealthy is the only theater of Lindhout’s design that is fully intact and still in operation.

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