Lansing’s Theater District has been gone for years and years…but it’s something you should learn about or not forget.

The 1870’s saw Lansing’s Washington Avenue as one of THE places to visit, thanks to the Theater District…even Mark Twain was impressed enough to visit.

Shows were live stage performances until motion pictures finally kicked in. Nine theaters eventually decked the area: The Bijou Theater, Colonial Theater, Empress Theater, Garden Theater, Gladmer Theater, Orpheum Theater, Plaza Theater, Strand Theater and Vaudette Theater…all offering stage plays, vaudeville and films.

Then, the Empress Theater – which was, by 1927, called the Capitol – presented the nation’s first talking motion picture, “The Jazz Singer” and the district was on it’s way to be forever changed.

Watch this short 4-minute video and see pictures of some of these majestic theaters that stood proud down Washington Avenue…and wonder what the heck happened. Why can’t we have this now?


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