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Classic Movie Theaters

Updated: Dec 23, 2022



RENOVATED MOVIE THEATERS in the towns along the M-22 corridor are truly remarkable for so many reasons.


Nostalgia certainly has a place in their rebirth during the last fifteen years, but their importance to the communities in these brick-and-mortar manifestations is far deeper than just memories of the past.


Their renewed life grew from the leadership of a single visionary. Flint native, and up north summer resident, Michael Moore was just that person. In Traverse City’s case, he asked community leaders, why not have a film festival, and further why not renovate the tired State movie theater on Front Street? It started a movement in our region that began with the 2007 Traverse City Film Festival. This feat alone brought new life into the old movie house and motivated other communities to roll up their sleeves and focus on their forgotten movie theaters.


Interest in the preservation of movie theaters has spilled over into other investments in the downtown districts leading to quite a renaissance in several of our towns -- truly a remarkable phenomenon. Thank you, Mr. Moore.


Our towns and villages realized how important movie theaters were to their lifeblood. Community groups with economic savvy and armed with volunteerism stepped forward. This new mix of public and private stakeholders has led to solid growth in creating a new foundation and led to thriving mixed-use downtowns in northwest Michigan.


Each of the following links can take you to the history of the theaters.


Traverse City State and Bijou. https://stateandbijou.org/state-theatre-history/

Manistee https://voguetheatremanistee.org/history

Frankfort https://gardentheater.org/the-theater

Suttons Bay https://thebaytheatre.com/about-us/

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