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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...



Opened in 1923, the RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Regent was one of several Grand Rapids theaters named after famous New York City movie houses. The Regent was built primarily as an elegant motion picture theater, but also as a legitimate theater presenting stage plays. The cost was thought to be close to one million dollars. It had a seating capacity of 2,000. The Regent Bowling Center was located on the fourth floor, and there was a rooftop garden for ballroom dancing. The stage door was located off the alley on the west side of the building. The original owner is unknown, but the theater was taken over by RKO sometime in the 1920's. As an RKO theater, it became part of the Butterfield chain in 1929-30. The Regent and the Keith's were purchased together by the City of Grand Rapids from RKO on March 12, 1962, for $594,500 as an acquisition of property for the downtown urban renewal program. The city took possession of the Regent on July 1, 1963, but continued to lease the theater to RKO for another year. The theater closed on September 29, 1964, and was demolished for urban renewal in late December.

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Address133 Crescent ST NW 49503. 8-6733 (1945)
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow

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