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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...


Nichol's or Nichols' Theater, located at this address, is first found in the city directory in 1914. By 1918, it was renamed as the Rivoli, and was known as Bird's Rivoli by 1927. The Rivoli Theater was owned by George Mathews from at least 1931 to at least 1936. The building was given a new front in the Division Avenue widening, and later became the Uptown Theater. “Uptown” was a designation of several businesses on Division near Wealthy in the 1940's. The Uptown Hatters & Cleaners was at 350, the Uptown Bar at 445, and the Uptown Food Market at 501. The 1948 owner of the theater was Frank A. Kleaver of 1133 Giddings S.E., and the operator was Herman Bird. The 1960 owners were Allen and Helen Johnson of Princeton, IN. The Uptown was still showing films in April, 1960, but had closed by October. The concrete, brick, and frame building stood on a 40' x 105' lot. It had wood floors and a gas-fueled boiler, converted from a coal stoker. The ceiling height was 15 feet, and the seating capacity 400. There were two washrooms. After numerous unsuccessful listings, the theater was sold to Floyd Bloss on February 17, 1964, and converted into the controversial Capri Theater, showing adult films. It was destroyed by a $50,000 fire on Monday, June 24, 1968, at 11:30 a.m. The front and rear walls of the building remained standing for some years, even though the roof had caved in and the structure was unusable. The building was razed by Elois Jackson in March, 1977.

Full Details

Address404-06 Division AVE S 49503
CreatorFather Dennis Morrow
Also Known AsBird's Rivoli, Nichol's/ Nichols', Rivoli, Uptown

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