130 W. Michigan Avenue,
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Previous Names: Orpheum Theatre
News About This Theater
- Mar 15, 2010 — Walking Memory Lane: The lost theaters of Jackson, MI
Designed by architect John Eberson, the Orpheum Theatre was opened on February 24, 1916. It was renamed Capitol Theatre in 1922. It was remodeled in 1938 to the plans of architect William L. Pereira. While showing a horror-flick marathon and right in the middle of some English vampire flick, real bats that had taken up residence in the drafty old theatre, dive bombed the audience and sent them running out through the lobby and right into the street.
When the building was demolished in around 1975, another victim “urban renewal”, they started one block over, on the Pearl Street side of the building. They tore the wall off that contained the stage and screen, and you could drive by and look into auditorium and balcony areas. The only lobby and entryway to the theatre was wedged between two other building on Michigan Avenue and still remains. The stage house was adjacent to the stage of the Michigan Theatre, which is still operating as a non-profit.
In recent years, several business people have tried to “capitolize” on the building’s past by creating a restaurant called Theatre Coffee, which restored the lobby. A recent visit to the Capitol Theatre revealed that it was being used as a halloween attraction - a haunted house.
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