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Virginia Theatre

City: Detroit State: MI Zip: Phone:  
County: Wayne
Open: Closed: Capacity:    
Owner: Unknown
Web Address: N/A
Number of visits to this page since Sept 2013: 2304

7/9/2013 - Fred Aronson
The Virginia Theatre, shown above, is missing from the list of Detroit theaters on your webpage. I grew up on Detroit’s Westside and attended Saturday matinees at this theater as a young boy. My Dad would wait for me at the corner drug store while he read his newspaper and enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and oyster crackers at the soda fountain. The Virginia Theatre was located at 8237 Hamilton Avenue, Detroit, MI. It was a neighborhood theater remodeled and modernized in the mid-1930s by Bennett & Straight, Architects, Dearborn, MI, for the owners and operators, the Portell Theater Company.

The theater was near Hamilton Avenue and Virginia Park Street, thus the name. Before and after photos of the theater appear in the online archives of the BoxOffice magazine in the issue dated February 8, 1936. The photos can be viewed at: http://www. boxoffice.

com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1936-2-8&page_no=24#page_start The theater originally featured the arched facade so common in earlier movie theaters, but Bennett & Straight’s remodeling gave it an Art Deco front. The interior featured 1 screen and 480 seats. The Virginia Theatre was still operational in the 1950’s but was closed and later demolished when this area of Hamilton Avenue was converted into a frontage road for the John C. Lodge Freeway.

The approximate location of the theater can be seen on Google Maps. The location of the original street number is revealed if the street name “Hamilton Avenue” is replaced with “John C. Lodge”. Google’s street view is from the freeway itself and shows only an earth berm.

12/9/2009 - Kathy
R. L. Polk Detroit City Directory lists 2 Virginia Theaters in 1928-29:21326 Fenkell Avenue AND 8237 Hamilton Avenue. The Hamilton Avenue location is most likely in Highland Park city limits, not Detroit.

Virginia Theatre - FROM FREDERICK
Virginia Theatre - OLD PHOTO

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