Chopin Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 7320 Michigan Ave
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48210
County: Wayne
Owner History: Stanley Oleszkowicz
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 6400

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance, features, addresses, phone numbers, or contact names of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

Source: Steve Bielawski

When Stanley Oleszkowicz opened the Stanley Theatre, he rented out the Chopin to Michael Czargot. Mr. Czargot also owned the Imperial Theatre, a few blocks east of the Chopin on Michigan Avenue. When Mr. Czargot rented the Chopin, he showed Polish films there while showing Hollywood films in the Imperial. Given the nature of the neighbourhood, the Polish films no doubt did well.

The supply of Polish films was severly cut in September of 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland. While there were no doubt some Polish films still available (and the possibility of giving a film a second showing), there were no new Polish films coming out. Since playing Hollywood fare would only put his two theatres in competition with each other, Mr. Czargot decided not to renew his lease on the Chopin.

I am getting more and more convinced that the pictures which I identified as being of the Chopin are actually of the Stanley. In looking closer, it seems that the street address, while not clear, is more consistent with that of the Stanley than of the Chopin. Also, my mother immediately identified these pictures as being of the Stanley, and she should know. Sorry about that.

Info Updates:
11/23/2004 - Steve Bielawski
I am attaching two photographs taken at the Chopin Theatre in 1940. The date can be established both by the placement of the photos in an Oleszkowicz family scrapbook among other photos from 1940 but also by the two pictures being advertized. By 1940, Stanley Oleszkowicz had been renting out the Chopin for several years. This may be why the photos are close-ups of the entrance rather than long shots showing the whole building. At first, I thought that the photos might be of the Stanley, the next theatre that Stanley Oleszkowicz owned, but looking at the photo of the Stanley, I see that the awning of the Stanley was much higher, with more ornamental work over the doorway. (It cant be the Atlas, because this theatre has a small box office located between the doors; the Atlas had a larger box office located beside the right-hand doors.) The gentleman in the picture is definately Joe Oleszkowicz, who was the usher at the theatre. He later ushered at the Atlas, though he definately went bald and his hair was quite grey by the time he retired at the Atlas. The woman is Mary Oleszkowicz, Joes sister and Stanleys daughter. She was the cashier at all three of the family theatres.
9/16/2004 - Steve Bielawski
The Chopin Theatre opened around 1922 and was still going into 1939 if not a bit later. My grandfather, Stanley Oleszkowicz, was the operator. The actual theatre was in the building you indicate, I think, but it was behind there. The entrance was in the middle of the block, next to where the party store now is. The marquee was not too far from where the party store sign is now. The marquee has long since been dismantled. Stanley and his family ran the Chopin from 1922 to 1930 or so. His son, my Uncle Ben, was the projectionist at first. The projectionists union didnt like that, and they planted a stink bomb in the lobby. After the stink bomb, both Ben and his brother, Leo, refused to be projectionists. (BTW, the building on the end of the block might have been the lobby, although I suspect that it is both the lobby and a storefront. There were several stores in the building with the Chopin Theatre, as well as office space on the second floor, which were rented out by Stanley Oleszkowicz.)
Chopin Theatre - Now A Strip Mall From Steve Bielawski
Now A Strip Mall From Steve Bielawski
Chopin Theatre - From Steve Bielawski
From Steve Bielawski
Chopin Theatre - From Steve Bielawski
From Steve Bielawski
Chopin Theatre - Now A Church
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