Norwest 1 & 2 Theatres

17630 Grand River Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48227

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: United Detroit Theaters

Architects: Hector G. Payne

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Norwest Theatre

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News About This Theater

Norwest 1 & 2 Theatres

The Art Deco style Norwest Theatre opened in 1936, designed by Hector Payne, who also designed the Varsity Theatre the same year. The Norwest Theatre could seat 1,366 and was a first run house until closing around 1978.

In 1979, it was reopened as a bargain second-run house, by Robert Sloan, who also operated the sadly demolished Art Deco style Metro Mercury Theatre as well, which was located not far from the Norwest Theatre.

At some point during the 1980s, the theater was twinned, becoming the Norwest 1 & 2, with total seating reduced to about 1,100.

The Norwest 1 & 2 was closed in 2000 the animated feature films “Chicken Run” & “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”. It was torn down in August of 2004 to make way for a fast-food restaurant.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

sdoerr on July 16, 2004 at 2:11 pm

well it had a remodeling in the 60’s I believe, and it has a gold counter-top from what I heard. I think the interior is in great condition, but I have never been inside, and its too bad I nver will be able to

kecia on August 6, 2004 at 8:42 am

I need to know how much the Norwest theatre is going for. And I need to know who to contact about purchansing.

sdoerr on August 9, 2004 at 3:36 pm

Sorry about the late reply cookie,
interested in purchasing this theatre please contact Brian Vosburg at: Brian is trying to save the Norwest,
Robert Sloan is the owner, and his phone number is (248) 357-4884

bvos on August 20, 2004 at 3:15 pm

The Norwest is being demolished. The demolition should start Monday, August 23rd, 2004. The theater is being demolished to make way for a Long John Silvers/A&W fast food restaurant.

The interior was renovated in the 60s. The interior is in pretty bad shape after sitting completely vacant and sealed for several years. There’s asbestos in several places as well. It would have been nice to save this Art Deco/Moderne neighborhood landmark.


bvos on August 26, 2004 at 3:17 pm

Here are some links to interesting articles on the Norwest Theater:

Detroit Free Press article on the history and impact the demolition has had on the neighborhood

View link

An urban explorer catches some interior pictures and some excellent history the day before the place came crashing down:

View link

kencmcintyre on August 10, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Here is another photo from the Detroit blog mentioned above:

kencmcintyre on December 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1938:

Detroit-Further shifts of managers have been completed by United Detroit Theaters, with the transfer of Robert Salter from first assistant at the Michigan, ace house of the circuit, to management of the Norwest, taking the place of Gil Green, who becomes assistant at the United Artists, replacing Frank Perry, who takes Salter’s ex-post at the Michigan.

MustangMan on February 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I saw “Planet of the Ape’s” & “The lengend of Boggy creek” here. The theatre was located across the street from my elementary school. I always miss seeing the Norwest sign as I drive down Grandriver, but great memory’s!!!!!

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