Detroit Gem Theatre

This gallery is a preview of what you can expect to see at  Theatre Historical Society of America’s annual conclave and historical theater tour in Detroit June 18 – 24, 2018.  You can find out more about the upcoming Conclave, and how you can participate in the historical theater tours here.

About the Detroit Gem Theatre

The Gem Theatre in Detroit (built 1927) houses a two-level theatre with traditional row and aisle seating and intimate stage-level seating at cabaret tables. It shares a lobby with the cabaret-style Century Theatre (built 1903). The theatre has stylings of Spanish Revival architecture. The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.In 1902, the Twentieth Century Club, a group of cultural, socially prominent women, built a Mission-style building to house their club. The building, now the Century Theatre, is built of red brick trimmed with white sandstone. The first floor originally housed a dining room, while the second floor housed a 400-seat auditorium.

In 1902, the Twentieth Century Club, a group of cultural, socially prominent women, built a Mission-style building to house their club. The building, now the Century Theatre, is built of red brick trimmed with white sandstone. The first floor originally housed a dining room, while the second floor housed a 400-seat auditorium.

In 1928, the member of the Century club contracted George D. Mason to design a theater addition to the Century Club building. The resulting Spanish Revival-style building was leased to the Little Theatre chain, which showed foreign films, and the building was known as the Little Theatre.

In 1933, due to the Depression, the Twentieth Century Club disbanded. The Little Theatre, however, continued, suffering through several name changes, becoming The Rivoli in 1932, Drury Lane (and then the Europa in 1935, the Cinema in 1936, and the Vanguard Playhouse in 1960. The Vanguard offered live theater rather than movies.

Finally, in 1967, the theatre was named the Gem.[ The building was used as an adult movie house until it closed in 1978. Soon afterward, developer Charles Forbes purchased the combined Gem/Century building and began a complete restoration of the Gem Theatre in 1990. The refurbished Gem opened in 1991.

Protected from demolition during urban renewal for Comerica Park, the newest home of the Detroit Tigers, the Gem Theatre, and Century Theatre was moved five-blocks on wheels to its new location at 333 Madison Street on 16 October 1997. At a distance of 563 meters (1,850 feet) it is the furthest known relocation of a sizable building.

Wikipedia

Stats

Location: 333 Madison Street Detroit, Michigan
Opened: 1927
Built: 1903
Architect: George D. Mason
Architectural style: Renaissance
Added to NRHP: May 09, 1985

Detroit Gem Theatre

333 Madison St, Detroit, MI 48226

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