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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...



The Orpheum appears in the city directory for the first time in 1911. It was operated by United theatres Co. in 1912, and presented some of the top acts of vaudeville. Gutted by fire on December 30, 1922, the theater was vacant when it was rented by the new Calvary Undenominational Church from March to August, 1929. By 1931, the theater had been renamed as the Kent, and was operated by Consolidated Theaters for the Butterfield chain. The seating capacity was 1,000, but the theater was not very deep, running back only to an alley in the rear; and hence the balcony was both steep and narrow. The 1948 manager was John A. Otterbacher of 822 College N.E., who died in January, 2002. The last ad for the Kent Theater appeared in the G.R. Herald on Saturday, July 5, 1952. Indicating the first show was at noon, the features were The Bushwhackers with John Ireland, Wayne Morris, and Richard Tierney; and The Fighting Rats of Torbuk. No story has been found on the actual closing of the theater, which might have been occasioned by its lack of air conditioning as well as dwindling attendance in a downtown with several other more comfortable theaters in operation. Mr. Otterbacher seems to have moved immediately to the Center Theater down the street as its manager. The building served as the auditorium for the Mel Trotter Ministries from 1955 until it was razed for urban renewal in April, 1967. (Old # 102-06.)

Full Details

Address322 Monroe AVE NW 49503. 8-9303 (1945)
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow
Locationlocation on map

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