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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...



Built by Boshoven in 1929 as the Fairmount, and operated by W.H. Semeyn, this was one of several Grand Rapids theaters named after famous New York City movie houses. S.L. Rothafel, better known as “Roxy,” was one of the late 1920's top moviehouse impresarios. He was a Minnesota native who had fought in the Boxer Rebellion, played minor league baseball, and mined coal before setting up his first nickelodeon. He later ran such lavish New York venues as the Strand, the Rialto, the Regent, and of course the Roxy. He carved out the opening night entertainment for John D. Rockefeller's Radio City Music Hall on December 27, 1932. (Source: American Movie Classics Magazine, December, 1999, p. 12.) The local Roxy Theater was closed by the mid-1940's. In 1946 it was purchased by the newly-established Blessed Sacrament Catholic parish for $35,000, and for an additional $15,000 was remodeled into its first church. The projection room was converted into quarters for the pastor. The congregation worshiped here until 1950, when a combination church-school building was built on Diamond Avenue. For some years afterwards, the building was used as a roller skating arena.

Full Details

Address2150 Plainfield AVE NE 49505
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow
Also Known AsFairmount

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