Temple Theatre

201 N. Washington Avenue,
Saginaw, MI 48607

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Temple Theatre, Saginaw, MI - auditorium from back of balcony

The Temple Theatre was opened on July 28, 1927 with Sally O'Neil in “Frisco Sally Levy” & Lupino Lane in “Who’s Afraid” plus vaudeville on the stage. A beautiful movie palace located in downtown Saginaw with a wonderful sound rising out of the Barton 3 manual 11 ranks organ located in the orchestra pit, originally opened by organist Hermine Gressler. Originally operated by the W.S. Butterfield chain, the same people that constructed the Fox Theatre in Detroit the next year. By the early-1940’s it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Butterfield Michigan Theaters Co.

The Temple Organ Society was mostly responsible for keeping the theatre maintained and open in the past. The theatre was closed in early-2002.

Restored to its original grandeur in 2003, the Temple Theatre was reopened in November, 2003, featuring some of the same style of vaudeville acts that were performed when the theatre originally opened.

Contributed by David W Oppermann

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Patsy on July 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm

After comparing the current to the past photos I noticed that the vertical marquee reading TEMPLE is not on the theatre facade anymore and it should be as I personally don’t like the current look.

Patsy on July 17, 2008 at 9:17 pm

In fact, you can see in the current photos where the vertical marquee was once attached between the 2 round exterior designs.

Karen Colizzi Noonan
Karen Colizzi Noonan on March 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

Theatre Historical Society will be visiting this theater during our 2011 Conclave – “The Michigan Roads Less Traveled” June 21-25. See the website for details www.historictheatres.org

martymia2009 on July 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm

These are beautiful pictures and bring back warm memories of my youth and saturdays at the Movie Theatre and going into another word for the afternoon.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on May 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm

The April 2018 issue of “Sign of the Times” includes an article on the restoration of the marquee and sign of the Temple. https://www.signsofthetimes.com/project/temple-theatre-marquee-signage-rejuvenated-impressive-design-teamwork

According to the article, “The building resembles an early Gothic cathedral and was commissioned nearly a century ago by the Elf Khurafeh Shriners – a fraternal organization like other Shriners, based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth. Osgood & Osgood Architects of Grand Rapids, MI had produced the original blueprints. As Freemasons, Osgood put more than their usual care into this building design.”

The article goes on to say, “The original marquee from 1927 carried out the “trolley car” design of that era, a rectangle with three sides of advertisement and decorative spires at each corner. The blade had been carefully hand carved and assembled from wood pieces. Over the years and decades, woodpeckers slowly ravaged it and the blade was taken down along with the rest of the marquee in 1961.” But doesn’t say anything about the transition from Masonic Hall to movie theater.

MSC77 on December 7, 2021 at 9:00 pm

In what year did Butterfield cease ownership of the Temple Theatre?

rivest266 on February 18, 2024 at 2:06 pm

The Temple Theatre was opened by Butterfield Theatres on July 28th, 1927. Grand opening ad posted.

MSC77 on May 18, 2024 at 6:33 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Saginaw: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1982-Present”.

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