Garden Theatre

124-26 E. 1st Street,
Flint, MI 48502

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: W.S. Butterfield Theaters Inc.

Architects: John Adolph Emil Eberson

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Previous Names: Bijou Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Garden Theatre

The Bijou Theatre was Flint’s first vaudeville house and was developed by Col. Walter S. Butterfield. Col. Butterfield converted two storefronts in 1905 into a theatre. It was remodeled and/or renovated in 1909, 1910 and 1913. On September 18, 1915 following a remodeling also gave it a new name, the Garden Theatre, which added motion pictures to the program with William Farnum in “The Nigger”.

Its seating capacity was expanded to 1,080 in 1917 to the plans of architect John Eberson, and was converted to talkies with both Vitaphone and Movietone in 1929. The first talkie shown at the Garden Theatre was “The Wild Party” starring Clara Bow. It was torn down in 1939 to make way for the new Garden Theatre (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

The July 14, 1917, issue of Motography had this item about the first Garden Theatre:

“Colonel W. S. Butterfield of Battle Creek has closed all contracts for the remodeling of the Garden Theater at Flint. Plans have been made by Architect John Eberson of Chicago.”

DavidZornig on March 11, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Circa 1912 postcard added courtesy Walter Jung.

rivest266 on December 2, 2021 at 5:05 pm

September 28th, 1909

rivest266 on December 2, 2021 at 10:07 pm

Reopened as Garden on September 18th, 1915, grand opening ad posted.

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