Some places are just so big and spectacular that we never forget our first visit.   Tiger Stadium was like that.  Ask anybody, and they’ll relate that story about that long climb up the ramp, and first seeing that breathtaking green view.I have another memory like that:  my first time at a historic movie theater.

Photo courtesy of State Theater

For me it was to see Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone”, at Kalamazoo’s State Theater.   Now that was a theater!  Actually, more of a palace. And, fortunately for all of us, it still is!   To a five-year-old, everything about it was awesome, and  I remember it like it was yesterday.   The fancy carpet and statues.  The clouds and stars projected across the ceiling, which seemed as high as the sky.   The gigantic stage and the spooky glowing side-lamps.

I don't remember much about the actual movie.

At one time, Battle Creek had a dozen of these downtown theaters.   Some, like the Post Theater or the Bijou or Michigan were on par with these great historic theaters, like the State.   All had character.   None survive.   One of the last was re-purposed to house the Battle Creek Civic Theater.  Now it’s a fake waterfall across from the Kellogg Foundation.  The story I was told, by the late Maida Swartzkopf, was that the city talked the Civic into selling it to them for a dollar, since the city could more easily afford to maintain the old building.  Soonafter, at the request of the Foundation, it was obliterated to make way for that “thing” that sits there now.

A lot of communities have done better at preserving their historic buildings.  Check that.  Darn near all communities have done better.

Photo by Townsquare Media



Albion recently preserved the Bohm Theater.   Jackson continues to work to save the Michigan Theater.  Tony Dungy will speak there on Friday.


So what historic theater is your favorite?  M-Live is doing a poll.  They gathered nominations recently, and have a ballot with nearly 50 theaters from around the State.

Click here to vote. 

If you love these old theaters like I do, you’ll love this website. I can spend hours on this one.

So, what’s your earliest theater memory?   Tell us about it so we can share it on the air.