Orpheum Theatre

65-67 South Saginaw Street,
Pontiac, MI 48342

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The Orpheum Theatre ws built by the Kleist family and opened in 1927. It was called “the queen of the downtown theatres”. The Kleists also owned four other theatres, the Strand Theatre, Eagle Theatre, Oakland Theatre, and the Rialto Theatre downtown.

The Orpheum Theatre had thick plush blue carpeting and overstuffed seating. It also fetured a $25,000 pipe organ. Some other features of the building were the two bowling alleys and billiard room. It had two storefronts, one being a popular barber shop.

The Orpheum Theatre closed in 1955 and was soon demolished.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 29, 2007 at 11:01 am

This website has photos of the former Orpheum Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 25, 2007 at 1:30 pm

A Barton theater organ size 2/6 was installed in the Orpheum Theater in 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

The 1949-50 edition of Theatre Catalog lists the Orpheum at Pontiac as having been built in 1920. Google Books has only a snippet view of this book available, but I was able to puzzle out from other theaters on the list that it is a list of theaters designed by architect George J. Bachman.

Construction of Kleist Amusement Enterprises' Orpheum Theatre was underway in Pontiac, according to an item in the October 16, 1920, issue of The American Contractor. The item confirms Bachman as the architect, but says that after the steel had been erected, work on the project would be suspended until 1921. There was no explanation why.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I misspelled the architect’s name in my previous comment. The 1949-50 Theatre Catalog, and some period sources including a history of Genesee County published in 1916, which has a biographical sketch of him, spell his surname Bachmann.

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