November 1 & 2, 2014      Michigan Theatre, Jackson MI


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Located in the center of Jackson's downtown commercial district, the Michigan Theatre is a fine example of the lavishly decorated theaters built throughout the United States in the 1920s. Designed by Maurice H. Finkel, a Detroit architect whose only other known theaters-- all four located in the Detroit area and constructed between 1921 and 1927-- have been demolished, was constructed in 1928 to 1930 as part of Col. W. S. Butterfield's statewide chain of vaudeville and movie houses, the theater was operated by the Butterfield chain until 1978.

Constructed as both a vaudeville and motion picture house, the Michigan is a red-brick structure. Its Mechanic Street facade is faced with yellow terra cotta tiles and displays twin, paired, Italian Romanesque-inspired window units and a low, Spanish Baroque tower with a red tile roof. The marquee is presumably a c.1940 addition.

The three-story entrance building--said to have existed before the theater was constructed and to have at one time housed a fish market -- contains, on the first floor, the outer lobby and a section of the inner (or main) lobby, including the concession counter. Rich, ornamental plasterwork pervades the theaters public spaces.

The inner lobby and the auditorium-- especially the proscenium and the side walls and ceiling in front of the balcony-- possess a wealth of pilasters; twisted columns; elaborately decorated, arched recesses; and other details inspired by the Baroque churches of Spain. The oldest and finest theater in Jackson the Michigan Theatre is one of the most opulent (and best preserved)
1920s theaters in all of Michigan outside of the Detroit area.

The Michigan Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It is now the subject of a preservation campaign by the Michigan Theater Preservation Association. 


Here is  photo composite photosynth  of the Michigan Theatre. Click on this link. When the image opens click on it. You will see a series of white boxes appear, as well as what appears to be a divided green smiley. Play with the different images a while by clicking on the different white boxes. Comprised of several different photos, you will get an idea of the theater, its marquee, its cupola, and the adjoining buildings on Mechanic Street here in Jackson. 


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