Howell Theatre

315 E. Grand River Avenue,
Howell, MI 48843

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graymatters
graymatters on April 18, 2021 at 4:28 pm

It appears that my grandfather Albert S. “Al” Johnson remodeled the Howell Theater, which first opened in 1928, in 1938. His theater job slides include one image of the theater taken in June 1948 with “Sun Mon Robert Young in Sitting Pretty” shown on the marquee. I’ve uploaded a copy to this page.

In this image, the theater is bracketed by a sandwich shop on the left and a bus station on the right, and its exterior is similar to other Johnson theater projects. The marquee and vertical sign are consistent with a late 1930’s style, and the front doors have full glass panes. The blackened areas of brickwork on the second story, which at first glance appear to be smoke damage, can also be seen in a photo apparently taken in 1956 on the WaterWinterWonderland.com site, so it’s not clear what caused this discoloration.

The Howell Theatre is one of just eleven of the more than sixty Michigan theaters that my grandfather’s Johnson Construction Company built or remodeled that is still open today (April 2021).

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com
Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com on August 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

Curious as to what Mr. DePerro paid when he ‘bought’ the theater??

EvMueller
EvMueller on July 22, 2014 at 5:08 am

The Howell is re-opening! Kickstarter project by new owner Tyler DePerro here: http://kck.st/1kJADut

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com
Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com on August 19, 2013 at 4:14 am

thehowelltheater.com site states: The theater is closed; however, check back for updates on the Root Restaurant coming soon!

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com
Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com on August 19, 2013 at 4:11 am

Well … sadly, the 86 year-old Howell appears to be permanently darkened, according to my exhibitor partner and current Howell, MI resident, Miss Barbara Jean Babbs. Miss Babbs interviewed a Howell Theater employee last month and learned that the venue had been sold and is slated to become an ‘expensive restaurant.’ As a life-long picture show aficianado, I find atrocities like this to be extremely disheartening. Trendy eateries have a reputation to come and go. It is our hope that the lion’s share of the moviehouse is left intact, so that the possibility of the Howell Theater being re-opened one day remains. These old theaters tended to be the heart and soul of the local communities they served … a gala gathering place. Nothing gold can stay. Dave Lounder (DaveLounderEnterprises.com), CT

rivest266
rivest266 on October 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Reopened, website at http://www.thehowelltheater.com/