Ann Arbor Goes to the Movies

In 1908, 5 cents would get you into a movie at The Casino. The Theatorium on Maynard, built on a former skating rink, showed one-reelers. The Majestic, a W.S. Butterfield theater, opened on December 19, 1907, quickly followed by the Whitney on Main Street the next January. The chain also operated the Michigan, the State, the Wuerth, and the Orpheum.

On Saturday afternoon September 11, 1915, 2000 Ann Arborites poured into the new Rae Theater (capacity 385) on Huron Street to see Pearl White in the Iron Claw. But the big hoopla occurred on Sunday September 12, when the first legal and public showing of a motion picture took place on a sabbath day in Ann Arbor history, and it took a special election to accomplish that.

The Old News team has digitized many of the news articles on the early history of Ann Arbor's movies theaters.