Michigan Theatre

217 S. Washington Street,
Lansing, MI 48933

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Michigan Theatre...Lansing Michigan

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Designed by John Eberson in 1920, the Strand Theatre, with its highly ornate terra cotta facade, was originally a vaudeville house, but later started to screen movies as well, eventually switching to just movies.

Like many of Eberson’s theaters, its auditorium was decorated with Neo-Classical touches.

The theater was renamed the Michigan Theatre during the 1940’s. Operated by the Butterfirld Theatres chain, it closed as a movie house in the 1970’s. The theater then sat vacant and decrepit until 1984, when the front section was brilliantly transformed into a mixed-use office and retail complex, the Atrium Center, by the firm of Hobbs and Black & Associates.

Although the auditorium could not be saved (only the floor of the balcony seating area remains), its grand lobby, ballroom and storefront areas were transformed to their 1920’s grandeur. The focal point of the office foyer space is now the large marble staircase.

The facade was also repaired after damage inflicted on it during a “modernization” years before. Limestone of the same shade as the original terra cotta was used to replace sections of the original terra cotta that were lost.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on June 7, 2006 at 4:18 pm

This theatre WAS a beautiful theatre and Lansing lost a gem when they chose to discontine this EBERSON creation!

TimP
TimP on September 4, 2006 at 8:59 pm

I’m looking for the date of a Louie Armstrong and The All Stars concert at the Michigan. Believe this would have been in 1950 or 51. Any resources for this type of info? There is an outside chance it might have been at the Gladmer but I doubt it. I was 8 or 9 at the time.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1980

Strand Theatre and Arcade (added 1980 – Building – #80001871)
Also known as Michigan Theater and Arcade
211-219 S. Washington Ave., Lansing
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Eberson,John & Drew, Eberson,John
Architectural Style: Art Deco, Other
Area of Significance: Performing Arts, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Business, Theater
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Business, Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 20, 2007 at 10:19 am

Additional photos can be seen here.

Patsy
Patsy on July 20, 2007 at 11:13 am

These photos of the original balcony now a roof that still shows the decor design are truly amazing to view, yet very sad!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 29, 2007 at 10:11 am

A Barton theater organ size 3/11 was installed in the Strand Theater in 1925.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 6, 2008 at 10:47 am

This is a 2008 photo of the Michigan Theater building.

thomgpd
thomgpd on December 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

I did my Architectural Thesis on the Restoration of the Michigan Theatre in 1977-9. I also worked for a Not For Profit to raise the monies and had my office in the building. Lansing wasn’t up to the task to restore it. I remember we brought in Dave Brubeck in to perform to raise money, still no good. It had so much potential,and was in sound condition….now the auditorium is a parking lot….I still have 2 of the seats, carpet, etc…..sad.

Thom Greene, Architect-Chicago

Brotherwoo
Brotherwoo on August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

a little more history, and a few more photos: http://themichmashcenter.blogspot.com/2011/08/strand-theater.html.

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