Avalon Theatre

13303 Linwood Street,
Detroit, MI 48238

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Wisper-Wetsman Theaters

Architects: Anker Sverre Graven, Arthur Guy Mayger

Firms: Graven & Mayger

Nearby Theaters

Avalon Theatre

Although C. Howard Crane submitted early plans for the Avalon Theatre, it ended up being designed by the Chicago-based firm of Graven and Mayger, who only designed a couple of theatres in the Detroit area, including the original Mayan-Aztec inspired interior of the Fisher Theatre, lost to a bland 1961 modernization by Rapp & Rapp!

Built for the Wisper-Wetsman Theaters chain in 1928, the Avalon Theatre was fairly large for a neighborhood house, and sat nearly 2,000. It was equipped with a Barton 3 manual 10-ranks organ.

It closed in 1967 and the Barton organ was retained in the vacant building only to have it metal pipes stolen by thieves who broke into the theatre. The Avalon Theatre sat crumbling away for almost another decade prior to being razed.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JohnMLauter on January 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Lost memory: the Barton organ in the Avalon was built on subcontract by the Wangerin company in nearby Milwaukee. The instrument remained in the theatre after it closed. A local Detroit theatre organ aficionado attempted to purchase it at a more than fair price, but the theatre owner Sarah Davidson would not sell it—she had delusions of greater financial gain by donating it to a church, which never happened. Scrappers got inside the building and took everything made of metal from the organ, including the pipes. The same individual purchased the remains of the organ from the shuttered theatre in 1970, and just the parts that remained live on in other instruments today.

dallasmovietheaters on August 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Prior to opening in December of 1927, the Avalon was one of three theatre in Detroit bombed which pushed the opening to 1928. The Tivoli in Highland Park and the Lansing Theatre were also bombed with the Tivoli suffering more than $100,000 in damage.

Stephenglick on August 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm

I saw “Them” (giant ants) at the Avalon by myself when I was 7 in 1955. I was scared stiff and transfixed. I came in in the middle for 20 cents and stayed for it to repeat so I could catch the beginning. They sold Halavah at the candy counter. I lived on Webb between Laughton and Linwood. We went to the Dexter theater also to escape the heat of the summer. Steve

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