Oriole Theatre

8450 Linwood Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48206

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Wisper-Wetsman Theaters

Architects: George DeWitt Mason

Functions: Church

Previous Names: Orient Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Oriole Theatre

Just a few months after this 2,078-seat theatre opened in late-1927 as the Orient Theatre, it changed its name to the Oriole Theatre, most likely due to the opening downtown of the similarly-named Oriental Theatre (which later became the RKO Downtown Theatre) around the same time.

It was designed by George D. Mason, who also designed the Great Lakes Theatre and Gem Theatre elsewhere in Detroit. After it closed in 1951, the Oriole Theatre sat vacant for over a decade, before being used as a church.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

DFTMatthew on July 17, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Detroit News article detailing use of the Oriole as a church. With photo of theater front.

View link

kencmcintyre on November 10, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Here are the works of George Mason:

Mason, George DeWitt (1856-1948)

Central Market Building (with Zachariah Rice) – Cadillac Square [Detroit]
Central Woodward Christian Church (AKA Little Rock Baptist Church) – 9000 Woodward Ave. [Detroit]
Century Building and Little Theatre – [Detroit]
Detroit Yacht Club
Gem Theatre (AKA Little, Rivoli, Drury Lane, Europa, Cinema, World, Vanguard) – 333 Madison Ave. [Detroit]
Grand Hotel – [Mackinac Island]
Great Lakes Theatre – 14832 Grand River Ave. [Detroit]
Hotel Ponchartrain (Original) – [Detroit]
Masonic Temple – 500 Temple Ave. [Detroit]
Oriole Theatre
Ransom Gillis Home (With Henry T. Brush) – 63 Alfred Street [Detroit]
Thompson Home
Trinity United Methodist Church
Walker, Franklin H., House

rivest266 on November 5, 2015 at 4:55 am

February 25th, 1936 grand opening ad as Cinema in photo section.

craigmorrisonaia on December 18, 2015 at 11:04 am

According to the GoogleEarth image of August 2015 the Oriole is standing tall in its use as a church. Both street facades have been resurfaced and the entrance moved from the corner to the rear of the auditorium. Partial interior photos show it simplified in detail but attractive within its original form.

Chris1982 on December 19, 2015 at 4:36 am

The theatre was not demolished it just resurfaced with the entrance moved to the rear of te building as craigmorris said in his comment.

craigmorrisonaia on December 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm

I forgot to mention in my previous comment that this church, New Bethel Baptist was pastored by the Rev. C. L. Franklin, whose daughter Aretha became a music legend.

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