The Old Regent Theatre
211 Trowbridge Street,
Allegan, Michigan 49010.
"The Old Regent Theatre is owned and operated by the City of Allegan. Showing recently released films every Friday through Tuesday. Free summer matinees are also offered with local and generous sponsors. Admission is just $3.00."
The Old Regent Theatre can be found in south central Michigan in the city of Allegan, which straddles the allegan River which runs around and through it. Four major highways can take the traveler to Allegan; 40, 89, A37 and 222.
In the old downtown section, one finds the theater's street, Trowbridge St., which is just one block north and to the right of Hubbard St., between cross streets Chestnut Street and Locust Street. MAP
The Old Regent Theatre is a film & non-film events theater, with an authentic 1930s aura, inside and out. It was restored the first time in 1996, and again in 1997, in its Art deco 1930s style, made popular at the 1925 World's Fair. The Regent Theatre has "a cream-colored vitrolite facade with red and green highlights. The six second-story windows have been closed up and covered with vitrolite with abstract decoration on them."
The "late Streamline era" marquee, is decorated with just one large white star, powered with neon and light bulbs." When we visited the theater, the marquee was down because it was being restored.
The Theatre also has its original 20 x 30 screen, one of the biggest screens in Michigan; a bonus to the film lover, whether watching newly released films or classics of yesteryear. The historic panels in the 687 red seat auditorium were recreated and the original 1930s red carpeting was restored.
The building which houses the Old Regent Theatre has been transformed and renewed throughout the years to meet the needs of the community. It was originally built to be a horse livery stable back in the late 1800s. In 1902, the building was transformed into a buick garage. In 1919, the building became a vaudeville theater, and a silent movie house as well. Inspired by the World's Fair, the theater was given a face-lift in the 1930s, redone in the Art Deco style and reopened mainly as a film theater.
One source reports that because of "a series of failed operational attempts," this theatre was abandoned during the 1980s, a crummy shell of what it once was during its heyday in the 1930s. As no one stepped forward to buy this really woe-be-gone fixer upper opportunity, it had a date with the wrecking ball in 1990. Lucky for us all, a non-profit organization, The Old Regent Theatre Company came to the rescue, and began the long process of restoring this theatre to its 1930 glory days.
The Old Regent Theatre had its grand reopening in 1996, once again showing films and hosting events for the benefit of the public. Then, in 1997, a heart-breaking disaster struck. A violent rain storm caved in the roof, ruining the inside of the theater. The miracle was that it happened just 1 hour after the theater had closed for the night, and no one was hurt.
The city of Allegan stepped up to the plate this time, and paid off the remaining mortgage of 18,000 dollars. With the help from various state and local grants, the pain-staking process of repairing and restoring once again the Old Regent Theatre began and was completely restored for the second time.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
The entity or entities which call The Old Regent Theater home, could have come from anytime during its history, which would cover the livery stable period, the buick garage period, the vaudeville theater period and the time periods when the theater was run by various managements from 1930 to early 1980 when it closed. The entities who haunt this theater could be the result of: Unfortunate deaths or tragic stories connected to this building, Actors who don't want to get off the stage just yet, Movie enthusiasts who found solace and peace here, or Distraught business owners who lost their shirts in the failed enterprises which tried to make a living in this building in more recent years.
Perhaps they were activated during the 1990 restoration of the Old Regent Theater.
Cold spots have been noticed and recorded, and presences have been sensed by the living.
An investigator with the West Michigan Ghost Hunter's Society was in the theater lobby when the touch of a cold hand of an unseen presence was felt.
A shadowy apparition has been seen in the projection room.
Recent investigation reports released by the West Michigan Ghost Hunters Society show that the Old Regent Theater is haunted. Three revealing photos catch paranormal evidence on film.