<< Go Back up to Atmospheric Theatres Main Page

Capitol Theatre (photo credit Jeneane Behme)

Capitol Theatre

Flint, Michigan, USA

First Opened: 19th January 1928 (96 years ago)

Reopened: 8th December 2017

Atmospheric Style: Italian Courtyard

Architect: John Eberson

Website: www.capitoltheatreflint.com Link opens in new window

Address: 140 E 2nd St, Flint, MI 48502 Link opens in new window

National Register of Historic Places: #85000165 Link opens in new window (added 31st January 1985)


The 2,000-seat Capitol Theatre opened in early 1928 with a screening of the movie College (1927) Link opens in new window starring Buster Keaton. The Capitol Orchestra performed the “Capitol March” under the direction of its composer Dale Owens. Three vaudeville acts completed the bill.

Plans for the theatre had been announced in 1924 by Walter S. Butterfield. The theatre was subsequently designed by renowned architect John Eberson and built by the Flint Building Corporation for the Butterfield Theatre chain. The general contract was awarded to Henry Vander Horst of Kalamazoo, whom at the time had recently built the State Theatre in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Architectural Decorating Company of Chicago and New York supplied the plasterwork; artificial trees, flowers, vines, etc, were created by G. Reising and Company of Chicago.

The theatre was originally equipped with a 3-manual, 11-rank Barton theatre organ. It was removed in 1976 and donated to the Flint Institute of Music Link opens in new window and installed into the Dort Music Center’s MacArthur Recital Hall Link opens in new window.

Sound motion pictures arrived at the Capitol Theatre on 12th April 1929 with a showing of The Pagan Link opens in new window starring Ramon Navarro. The Keith-Albee Vaudeville Exchange provided live acts at the Capitol until about 1931 when it was discontinued due to the success of sound motion pictures. From then until the mid-1930s live performances were few and the organ ceased to be used.

The theatre closed in 1996 and lay dormant for 20 years. Restoration work began in 2015 and the theatre reopened in December 2017, managed by the Flint Institute of Music Link opens in new window.

Further Reading


Historic Photos & Documents
Files displayed in this section may be subject to copyright; refer to our Copyright Fair Use Statement regarding our use of copyrighted media.

Photographs copyright © 2002-2024 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2024 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here Contact Us.

Follow Mike Hume’s Historic Theatre Photography: Follow Historic Theatre Photos on Instagram Follow Historic Theatre Photos on Facebook