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Roosevelt Theatre

Address: 9515 Gratiot
City: Detroit State: MI Zip: Phone:  
County: Wayne
Notes: AKA: Imperial
View on Google Maps  
Open: 1925   Capacity: 1771  
Owner: Unknown
Number of visits to this page since Sept 2013: 2258

3/9/2011 - David E Richey
A few years later, my Grandfather, John Garrisi, was working in his furniture store next to the theater (Jan 1928). The furniture store was two stories and my Grandparents and their 6 children lived on the second floor. He was approached by members of the Black Hand (local mafia) and given the opportunity to pay for protection of his business. He answer was to kick them out of the store. A few weeks later, Grandpa took the family to a furniture show in Chicago for the weekend.

On Saturday night the store was bombed and destroyed and a good part of the Roosevelt Theater was taken down. There were several casualities among the audience in the theater. When the theater was rebuilt it reopened as the Imperial but after a year was returned to its original name, Roosevelt Theater.

3/9/2011 - David E Richey
The Roosevelt Theater brings back a lot of memories. My maternal Grandfather, John Garrisi, a Sicilian immigrant, owned the property adjacent to the north of the theater (9517 Gratiot). When the theater was being built my Grandfather would check on the progress of his new neighbor. As the building was nearing completion he approached the owner one day and pointed to the top of the theater and the decorative overhang that was over his property. The new owner was taken aback and wanted to make the situation right.

So they worked out a deal that allowed my Grandfather and any member of his family free admission for life. I went to many movies with my Grandfather there and all of the employees knew him and greeted him by name.
1/15/2004 - Cinema Treasures
The Roosevelt was designed by Christian W. Brandt and H. D. Ilgenfritz as a sister to the Cinderella, which opened a year earlier (1924) and sat about a hundred more than the Roosevelt's 1770. Like the Cinderella, it was designed in Spanish Colonial style.

The theater was renamed the Imperial for one year (1929) before returning to its previous name. In 1954, the Roosevelt was closed, and demolished not long afterwards. Cinema Treasures Link.
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