Source: Michigans Historic Sites Online
Located in the center of Jacksons downtown commercial district, the Michigan Theater is a fine example of the lavishly decorated theaters built throughout the United States in the 1920s. The Michigan, constructed as both a vaudeville and motion picture house, is a red-brick structure. Its Mechanic Street facade is faced with yellow terra cotta tiles and displays twin, paired, Italian Romanesque-inspired window units and a low, Spanish Baroque tower with a red tile roof. The marquee is presumably a c. 1940 addition.
The three-story entrance building--said to have existed before the theater was constructed and to have at one time housed a fish market -- contains, on the first floor, the outer lobby and a section of the inner (or main) lobby, including the concession counter. Rich, ornamental plasterwork pervades the theaters public spaces. The inner lobby and the auditorium-- especially the proscenium and the side walls and ceiling in front of the balcony-- possess a wealth of pilasters; twisted columns; elaborately decorated, arched recesses; and other details inspired by the Baroque churches of Spain.
The Michigan Theater is the oldest and finest theater in Jackson and one of the most opulent (and best preserved) 1920s theaters in all of Michigan outside of the Detroit area. Constructed in 1928 to 1930 as part of Col. W.S. Butterfields statewide chain of vaudeville and movie houses, the theater was operated by the Butterfield chain until 1978. The building was designed by Maurice H. Finkel, a Detroit architect whose only other known theaters-- all four located in the Detroit area and constructed between 1921 and 1927-- have been demolished. The Michigan Theater is now the subject of a preservation campaign by the Michigan Theater Preservation Association.
Source: Cinema Treasures
The Michigan opened in 1930, the last and largest of several movie palaces built in Jackson. Designed in the Spanish Baroque style, it featured ornate plasterwork, marble, imported antique artwork, and walnut paneling. The terra-cotta facade and its rooftop cupola resembled a church from 18th century Spain. The Michigan featured both stage shows and motion pictures, and was an entertainment mecca for Jacksonians for decades before ultimately closing its doors in 1978.