Gem Theatre

E. Front Street,
Monroe, MI 48161

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Fashioned from a former stable by John H. Reaper, the Gem Theatre was the first permanent motion picture theatre in Monroe County and the second in Michigan. It dated back to around 1905. It had closed by 1926.

Reaper subsequently opened the Reaper Theatre across the street and operated both for a time.

Contributed by rob boehm

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2023 at 10:09 pm

The theater at 128 E. Front is gone from the May, 1916 Sanborn, but the Reaper is shown. If the Gem (quite a few historical sources call it the Little Gem) was in fact the second permanent movie theater in Michigan it had to have opened long before 1911. J. H. Reaper arrived in Monroe in 1903, and the Gem could have opened not long after that. Movie theaters had become commonplace in Michigan by the end of 1905, so the Gem must have been in operation by then.

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