The Grand Riviera Theater, photo submitted 1982 The Grand Riviera Theater, photo submitted 1982
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Grand Riviera Theater - Demolished
9222 Grand River Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Riviera Theater
Property Type theater
Style Italian Renaissance
Architect/Builder John Eberson
Narrative Description The Grand Riviera Theater is a brown-brick, three-story structure designed in the Italian Renaissance style. The dominating feature is the eighty foot tall, octagonal corner pavillion with its large, arched, multi-paned windows and liberal application of cream colored terra cotta decoration. Adjoining the pavillion to the west is the three-story, store and office wing. To the north is the windowless auditorium section which has paneled brick walls spanned by the original metal fire escape. DEMOLISHED 1997
Statement of Significance The Grand Riviera is the most ornate of the neighborhood movie theaters built in the outlying sections of Detroit in the 1920s. The theater cost over one million dollars to complete, in 1925 with room for 3,000 making The Grand Riviera Theater the third largest theater in Detroit. The theater was one of John Eberson's "atmospheric" theaters a very popular concept of the time. The inside of the Grand Riviera resembled an Italian garden at night; artificial vines and flowers were placed around the edges as well as imitation buildings, the ceiling had small lights resembling stars with shadows used to simulate clouds. The theater did very well as a movie house and Vaudeville stage until 1957 when it was converted into a "legitimate" theater. The Grand Riviera had lost its place as the premier theater in Detroit after the Fisher opened in 1961 and hosted various concerts until its closure in the mid 1970s.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1925
Registry Type(s) 04/22/1982 National Register listed
10/02/1980 State Register listed
Site ID# P25130