Crystal Theatre

Address: 304 Superior Ave
City: Crystal Falls
State: MI
Zip:
County: Iron
Open: 1927
Capacity: 820
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 19268
Notes:

This theater is now named Crystal Theatre and is a live performing facility. Originally built in 1927, it was built to replace the opera house, named Gem Theatre, that was down the street. The Gem theatre burned several years earlier. It was built as a live performing center with movie capabilities. It housed 1 screen, a decent sized stage, an orchestra pit, two Simplex E-7 movie projectors (which are still located in the projection booth) and a Wurlitzer 2/7 organ.

With the demand of movies rising, the theater was converted into a full time movie house in the late 1920’s. With the invention of movies with sound, the Wurlitzer organ was sold by the city. The theater continued to show movies until about the 1980’s. The theatre changed names several times, first it was the Ejay Theatre, (the original seats in the balcony still say EJ on the sides of them), then the Delft theatre, then the Aldo theatre, which closed its doors in the 1980’s.

In 1992, a group of dedicated volunteers came in and renovated/restored the theater into a live performing facility seating about 600 people. Crystal Theatre is a 401 C non profit organization which is governed by an 8 member board of directors serving this community and surrounding communities. The theater has hosted a variety of events, including The National Shakespeare Company, the Michigan Chamber Brass, and also is the home to the Forest Park High School Drama Club.

Today, since the original Wurlitzer organ was sold, a Moeller 3/21 theater pipe organ was bought and restored and is the focal point of the theater. This theater features a wide variety of organists including Dave Wickerham. This theater still keeps its original integrity with art-deco wall murals which are original to the theater. AKA Aldo Theatre, Bijou Theatre, Ejay Theatre, Delft [Cinema Treasures tyman2006]

Info Updates:
12/26/2014 - Rhonda Wickerham
website address is: www.thecrystaltheatre.org email link is info@thecrystaltheatre.org I am currently a co-manager of Crystal Theatre and can also submit some current photos. I will send them to the email address as listed above. Rhonda Wickerham.
2/13/2003 - Michigans Historic Sites Online
The EJAY Theatre, located in Crystal Falls, is a two-story, red brick, commercial style, limestone-trimmed building topped by a limestone-tipped gabled parapets. Square limestone-tipped brick pilasters flank a second-story semi-round arch, and is surmounted by a second story limestone beltcourse frieze. A first story marquee, a white-painted wooden theatre entrance and the shingled first-story alterations date from the 1950s. The theatre interior, decorated in Art Deco murals, contains an auditorium and a balcony, walls decorated with 1920s Art Deco murals, and has a seating capacity of 820.

Statement of Significance The EJAY Theatre is the lone surviving cinema of one half dozen theatres in Crystal Falls built in the heyday of the 1920s. Emmet Markly of Manistique won the building contract. William Wuertz, a theatre decorator from Milwaukee, executed the Art Deco style murals. It is also the second oldest assembly hall in the City of Crystal Falls. On May 30, 1927, the EJAY Theatre opened with pomp and flourish, featuring a newsreel on Lindberghs recent Paris flight, a roaring comedy and the motion picture "Senorita" with Beebe Daniels. The EJAY Theatre ran its last picture show in 1980, and is currently vacant.
1/6/2003 - Web
Crystal Theatre is the lone survivor of a half dozen theaters built in Crystal Falls during the heyday of 1920s cinema. With the help of a Michigan Equity Grant by the State of Michigan, this theater is being restored as the Crystal Falls Performing Arts Center, a multi-purpose performance facility and assembly hall serving residents and visitors in a fifty mile radius of the Upper Peninsula community. The theaters revival is part of a larger program of historic preservation currently being undertaken on the sloping Superior Avenue. Recognizing good building design from the past and led by the Crystal Falls Arts Association, local businesses and city planners are determined to save this grand old building. The original art deco wall murals and architectural detailing have remained remarkably intact, and a 3/21 Moeller Theatre Pipe Organ has been found as a replacement for the original Wurlitzer Organ. The exisiting design and architecture will provide the point of reference for the renovation and construction of additional spaces. Additional audience amenities will include new restrooms, concessions and improvements for public safety and handicap accessibility. "It is a mighty fine theater. Every detail of the building would do a much larger city credit." --Mr. Boex, installer of the original Wurlitzer Organ in the Ejay Theater, 1927.
 Photos:12
Crystal Theatre - OLD PHOTO
OLD PHOTO
Crystal Theatre - OLD POSTCARD CLOSE-UP
OLD POSTCARD CLOSE-UP
Crystal Theatre - SUMMER 2005 FROM CAROL SLINGO
SUMMER 2005 FROM CAROL SLINGO
Crystal Theatre - 1964 FROM PAUL PETOSKY
1964 FROM PAUL PETOSKY
Crystal Theatre - AS THE DELFT
AS THE DELFT
Crystal Theatre - AS THE ALDO
AS THE ALDO
Crystal Theatre - AS THE EJAY
AS THE EJAY
Crystal Theatre - AS THE CRYSTAL
AS THE CRYSTAL
Crystal Theatre - ENTRANCE OF CRYSTAL
ENTRANCE OF CRYSTAL
Crystal Theatre - FOYER OF CRYSTAL
FOYER OF CRYSTAL
Crystal Theatre - AS THE DELFT
AS THE DELFT
Crystal Theatre - AS THE ALDO
AS THE ALDO
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