The National Theatre


Balcony level, National Theatre Detroit, MI

View of the auditorium from the balcony.

The National Theatre opened on September 16, 1911 in Detroit, Michigan. Designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn (who designed so many buildings in Detroit that he was nicknamed, “the architect of Detroit”), the National is noted as his only theater and is the oldest surviving building from the city’s original theater district. Built in the Art Nouveau style, the exterior of the building is covered with terra cotta from Pewabic Pottery, another Detroit landmark.

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Proctor’s Palace Theatre

View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.

View of the auditorium from the side of the balcony.

Proctor’s Palace Theatre opened on January 31, 1916 in Yonkers, New York. The 2,300 seat theater was designed by William E. Lehman who is also known for the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. It was built for theater magnate F.F. Proctor. Lehman designed the auditorium with a mix of French, Flemish and Italian style architecture. He is quoted as saying, “I wanted to create a building that will wear well.”  The complex also included a six story office building.

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Lecture Update

National Theatre Detroit, MI

Just a quick reminder – there are still tickets available to my lecture at the Observatory in Brooklyn on December 3 at 7:30PM.

Tickets can be purchased at

For more information about the lecture check out Atlas Obscura  and the Observatory’s websites.

December Lecture

Proctor’s Palace Theatre, Yonkers, New York.

On December 3, I’ll be giving another lecture on the Fall of the American Movie Palace as part of the Atlas Obscura Speakers series at the Observatory in Brooklyn. I’ll be adding some new images and information, so if you came to the first one, there’s still a reason to check it out.

Here’s some information about it from the Observatory’s website:

There’s nothing remarkable about a movie theater today, but there used to be. When the great American Movie Palaces opened, they were some of the most lavish, stunning buildings anyone had ever seen. With the birth of the multiplex, theater companies found it harder and harder to keep these buildings open. Some were demolished, some were converted, and some remain to this day. “The Fall of the American Movie Palace” will take you through the history of these magnificent buildings, from their opening in the early 1900s to years after the final curtain.

Check out Atlas Obscura for more information, and to purchase tickets.

Tickets can also be purchased at

The Ramova Theatre

The Ramova Theatre auditorium.

The Ramova Theatre opened on August 21, 1929 in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The 1,500 seat theater was designed by architect Meyer O. Nathan in the Spanish Revival style. An atmospheric theater, the ceiling was painted blue to resemble the night sky. A contest was held to name the theater while it was being built, and the winner named it after the Lithuanian word for “peaceful place.”

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