Iconic Detroit Buildings: The Fox Theatre

Detroit's Fox Theatre opened in 1928


DETROIT – Since 1928, the Fox Theatre has been 'the Crown Jewel of Detroit," sitting on Woodward Avenue.

The National Historic Landmark, designated in 1989, was originally opened as a movie venue, with more than 5,000 seats.

It was built to replace the Fox Washington Theatre, which only held 1,862 seats.

The original “house staff” of doormen, ushers, designers and matrons numbered more than 400.

The Theatre was designed by Detroit's greatest theater architect, Charles Howard Crane.

After entering through a bank of elegant brass doors and an outer foyer, guests pass into an ornate lobby covering 3,600 square feet and rising six stories high.

Beyond this is the elaborate main auditorium, which seats 5,000 and is ringed by a pillared promenade.

Crane also designed Olympia Stadium, and the Lafayette Building.

It opened Sept. 21, 1928, with the silent film "Street Angel."

The Fox started evolving, adding live stage shows, organ concerts and 35-cent talkies.

By the 1950s, the Fox was a hot venue for premieres and concerts.

In 1956, the Fox played host to three performances by Elvis Presley.

As Detroit began to decline in the late '60s and '70s, the Fox switched to kung-fu and horror movies.

In 1987, the Fox was purchased by the Ilitch family, and underwent a $12-million restoration project.

Today, Detroit’s Fox Theatre ranks as one of the most profitable entertainment destinations in the country.

Sources: HistoricDetroit.org, Detroit Historical Society

Photos by Mark Hall, Patrick Krupa and Trevor Dodd for HistoricDetroit.Org

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