The Redford Theatre, photo submitted 1985
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Redford Theatre Building
17354 Lahser Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Redford Theatre
Property Type theatre
Style Exotic Revival
Architect/Builder R. F. SHREVE
Narrative Description The Redford Theatre is a red brick structure with a symmetrical, two-story front containing the entrances to the theatre and flanking storefronts. The exterior contains a composite of stylistic elements while the interior contains Chinese and Japanese design themes. A recessed area at the center of the west facade houses five sets of aluminum doors which open into the theatre lobby. A ticket booth projects from the center of the recessed area. The walls at the entrance are now faced with aggregate panels colored brown and white. A yellow and red enameled metal marquee spans the west facade above the entrance. The second story of the west facade's central portion houses four windows, two of which are obscured by the marquee. The windows' decorative surrounds consist of twisted columns with Corinthian capitals, limestone, round-arch heads, and a tympanum containing swags and comedy-tragedy masks executed in relief. The central portion has a low gable and its cornice is embellished with a brick corbel table.
Statement of Significance The Redford Theatre is significant as an unusual example of Chinese-Japanese theatre design and as a well preserved example of the "atmospheric" theatre genre of the 1920s. The theater is significant as well for its long and continuing role as an entertainment center. The Detroit firm of Verner, Wilhelm and Molby, engineers and architects, with Detroit engineer Ralph F. Shreve as an associate, designed the theatre. The firm survived only a few years in the 1920s before the partners split the business, and the Redford is their only documented theatre design. The structure's auditorium contains a Barton organ in the auditorium. The Motor City Theatre Organ Society leased the theatre from 1974 until 1977 when its members voted to purchase the building. Since that time MCTOS has restored much of the theatre's outstanding oriental interior design and its Barton theatre organ.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) Built 1927
Registry Type(s) 09/09/1988 Marker erected
01/31/1985 National Register listed
08/18/1988 State Register listed
Site ID# P25210