140 E second Street
Flint, Michigan 48502.
The city of Flint is located near three main highways 475, 69 and 21. The large building which houses this magnificent, theater palace, is located in downtown Flint, not far from the University of Michigan at Flint, at 1140 E second St., between the cross streets of Brush Alley and Harrison Street. E second St. is a one way street which runs east to the Hwy 475. One could take E. 3rd, which is a one way street running west to either Harrison Street;(another one way which runs North). Or, go to S. Saginaw St., and turn right onto E. Second St, and then go down a block to the theater building.
Yikes! Tom and I had no idea how economically depressed the city of Flint had become, until we visited it in June of 2007. It was no surprise to find that the Capitol Theatre was closed, and that no other businesses in the same building were open and operating.
On the bright side, there are signs of redevelopment throughout the downtown area, and there were signs of a renovation/restoration of the old theatre as well! The economically depressed city of Flint, like The Capitol Theatre, is finally getting a long, overdue face lift and renovation, thanks to the private sector and government forces who have finally come together to provide money for urban renewal funds to be used in the bedraggled downtown area.
When this 20 million renovation project/urban renewal project is finished and the theatre is fully restored to it former magnificent state, it is hoped that the Capitol Theatre will be a huge draw to get people in a 60 mile radius to come to downtown Flint for not only the entertainment offered at the theatre, but also to spend money in a newly updated and renovated downtown area, bringing economic recovery and prosperity.
Under the direction of theatre restoration architect, Paul E Westlake Jr. this glorious theater will become what it has always been; a place of "Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture," perhaps an important draw to bring money and business to financially depressed Flint. A popular theatre would "spark growth in downtown with the addition of restaurants, clubs, cafes and a mix of commercial activity."
While waiting for the money to come through, The Capitol Theatre recently received "a Ruth Mott Foundation facade improvement grant", totaling $25,000 for the repair of the Harrison Street and Second Street marquees. The project included painting of the signs, new neon and flood lights. In addition, brick work was completed to repair the east and west side of the building."
Included in this project is the rest of the building space which surrounds the theatre itself. Like many old theatres, The Capitol Theatre has office and business space around it in the same large building; 30,000 sq. ft. on the lower floor and 25,000 sq. ft. on the second floor.
The Architectural Style of The Capitol Theatre is described as being "Other, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals" by the National Register of Historical Places. This 1900-2000 seat Capitol Theatre was built in 1925 in the glorious style of an atmospheric theater, being the result of a collaboration between theater financier and owner, Mr. Butterfield, and by well-known atmospheric theatre designing architect, John Eberson, who was the master at building and designing atmospheric theatres.
Atmospheric theaters were built in the 1920s, before the Depression and whose interior decor and architectural design depicted elaborate outdoor scenes. John Eberson really out-did himself in designing the interior of The Capitol Theatre, which is considered by many to be his most impressive effort.
The theatre's 1900-2,000 seats are located both on the main auditorium and its balcony. The expansive, grandiose interior was designed to resemble a Roman courtyard, using "Mediterranean architectural elements, executed on a grand scale."
One found everything physical which transcended one away from everyday woes to a place of peace and beauty, including terrazzo floors, gold leaf decorative touches, and detailed structures and statues found in an Italian Garden. "Facades of palaces, castle towers and hanging gardens adorn the theater’s interior."
Lovely details such as a sunset, stars and doves flying were also added. A fog machine was used to make “wisps” of clouds. Facades of palaces, castle towers and hanging gardens adorn the theater’s interior.
The business spaces on street level were filled with a bowling alley, a cafe and a pool hall, which were favorite past times of people of that era.
For many years, The Capitol Theatre was the much loved cultural and performing arts theatre, especially during 1925-1949, when it was in its prime.
Like the area around it, the theatre slowly decayed over the years, slowly losing its uplifting, theatre palace aura.
In 1976, this now real fixer upper opportunity theatre and its building were bought by a family who were dedicated to the goal of bringing this once grand old lady back to her former glory. Two generations of this family have worked tirelessly to accomplish what they were able to do. The theater closed in 1995, but efforts continued to raise money to renovate it.
The Capitol Theatre earned a spot on the National Register of Historical Places in 1985, because of its Architecture/Engineering, and its history of offering Performing Arts to the community.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
From 1987 to 1995, a variety of rock/pop/alternative music concerts, were held here and were very popular. The noise level was probably very loud, performed in a style which isn't generally appreciated by the older generation; either living or dead!
Lots of building space beside it and below the theater housed a variety of businesses, including a pool hall, a diner and a bowling alley. There are lots of places close by which may be haunted by unknown entities who like to hang out at the theater.
Many people were taken away to a magical place and entertained by fine movies, and stage and musical productions, over the years.
Many performers acted or sang on this glorious stage in this magnificent theater. Perhaps they wanted to spend their after-life here as well.
Entities who have chosen to stay in the theatre because of all the wonderful life experiences they had in this place, may have had issues with the movies shown here or the loud sound of rock-pop-alternative music and let the living know their displeasure, like a fed-up neighbor who complains about the noisy party next door. (Comedy Store - Sam Kinison)
Patrons and staff had reported hearing the sounds of screams, moans, and "tappings" on the walls of the theater.
The Living have seen apparitions and shadows in the balcony.
Bands who had come to set up for pre-concert sound checks, have had their equipment suddenly go dead temporarily, for apparently no reason at all. Then, they were treated to the sound of eerie out of body singing, and saw apparitions and shadows in the balcony, who perhaps were trying to be models of appropriate entertainment in their view.
As the theater has been closed to the public for 12 years, people haven't been able to report any paranormal occurrences. Chances are, when restorations start up in earnest, they will make contact with the living once more.
The theater is beginning to experience serious restoration work, and nothing stirs up entities like restoration!
These entities have had this glorious theatre basically to themselves for 12 years. When the theater has been restored to its former glory, all kinds of community activities and cultural arts events will take place here, making good use of these marvelous facilities and atmospheric aura: University of Michigan at Flint events, various theatrical and music groups and companies, perhaps dance concerts and any other cultural events.
The odds are good that there will be a peanut gallery up in the balcony, either enjoying the entertainment or letting the living know their displeasure by their various methods.