Garden Theatre - Frankfort MI

Address: 301 Main
City: Frankfort
State: MI
Zip: 49635
County: Benzie
Open: 1924
Capacity:
Owner History: Bill Griffin
Theater Type: Small Town Movie Palace
Number of visits to this page: 10845
Disclaimer:

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance or features 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: Andy Gray

The Garden Theater, at 301 Main Street in Frankfort, opened in August 1924. My Uncle Bud's Johnson Construction Co. theater job list shows this as a 1947 remodeling project by his father Al's company. The "art moderne" style of the Garden Theatre is consistent with a 1947 remodel. Current images of the theater, which remains in use, show three pairs of green doors with paired half-octagonal glass panes.

These match the patented "Johnson doors" used in several of Al Johnson's other theater projects of the era. Unfortunately, my grandfather left behind no 35 mm slides of this theater project. The Garden Theater website says "On December 30, 2020, The Friends of The Garden Theater, a charitable organization, purchased the Garden Theater and continues with fundraising efforts to save the theater for future generations." It also indicates that the theater hosts a film festival each October.

Al Johnson left behind no color Kodachrome slides of this theater project, but he did leave behind an undated black and white photo (attached) with “Frankfort” written on the back. In the photo, an overhang spans the front of the building. This appears to be an image before the 1947 Johnson Construction Company project.

Click the following links for locations of interest nearby:
Info Updates:
6/20/2009 - John McDowell
From 9and10news(Cadillac, Michigan television station) 6/19/09 The renovations are complete on a run-down Benzie County movie theatre. Its new owners hope it can thrive like they say it once did decades ago. The Garden Theatre in Frankfort re-opened last night after a near 150-thousand dollar renovation project. The new owners recently bought the theatre because they wanted to bring it back to life. "It was very run down. The seats were held together with duct tape and bubble gum," says Jenny Schmitt, one of the new owners. With the help of volunteers, the owners installed new seating, fixed the walls and ceiling, scrubbed the floors, and upgraded other odds and ends. "I think there's a lot of hope that it will be another thing that draws people into our downtown restaurants and shops and gets people to Frankfort," she says. The workers across the street at Betsie Bay Inn are eager for the extra business the theatre may bring. "Have dinner and a movie and stay right here," says Jan Erlewein, Accountant at the Inn.
12/19/2003 - Box Office Magazine
August 1959 - Mrs. Jean Griffin is continuing operation of the Garden Theatre at Frankfort following the recent death of her husband Lawrence. Clive Waxman of Independent Theatre Service is handling the booking and buying of film.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
February 1959 - Bill Griffin is reported the new owner of the Garden at Frankfort.
 Photos:16
Garden Theatre - 2009
2009
Garden Theatre - FALL 2017
FALL 2017
Garden Theatre - RECENT SHOT
RECENT SHOT
Garden Theatre - 1950S PHOTO FROM PAUL
1950S PHOTO FROM PAUL
Garden Theatre - SUMMER 2003
SUMMER 2003
Garden Theatre - AUDITORIUM BEHIND THE SCREEN FROM KARA TILLOTSON
AUDITORIUM BEHIND THE SCREEN FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - AUDITORIUM FROM KARA TILLOTSON
AUDITORIUM FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - AUDITORIUM LIGHT FROM KARA TILLOTSON
AUDITORIUM LIGHT FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - AUDITORIUM WALL FROM KARA TILLOTSON
AUDITORIUM WALL FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - GARDEN THEATRE FRANKFORT AL JOHNSON PHOTO
GARDEN THEATRE FRANKFORT AL JOHNSON PHOTO
Garden Theatre - LOBBY FROM KARA TILLOTSON
LOBBY FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - MARQUEE FROM KARA TILLOTSON
MARQUEE FROM KARA TILLOTSON
Garden Theatre - OLD SHOT OF THE GARDEN FROM POST CARD
OLD SHOT OF THE GARDEN FROM POST CARD
Garden Theatre - OLD SHOT OF THE GARDEN ON THE LEFT
OLD SHOT OF THE GARDEN ON THE LEFT
Garden Theatre - SUMMER 2003
SUMMER 2003
Garden Theatre - SEPT 24 1960 AD
SEPT 24 1960 AD
WaterWinterWonderland.com © 2022 Over 60,703,731 Served