[graphic header] Detroit: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service


Built in 1928 by internationally known theater architect Howard Crane, the Fox Theatre Building seats over 5,000 people and is Detroit's largest movie palace. The movie palace is surrounded by a U-shaped ten-story, steel-frame office building that is sheathed in terra cotta. The walls on the main floor of the theater are decorated with whimsical plaster figures such as monkeys, serpents, lions, butterflies, and Hindu-inspired deities. Detroit was enjoying the fruits of the automobile boom and elaborate movie palaces, such as the Fox Theatre, were being constructed in the then new shopping area near Circus Park. The giant 36 rank Wurlitzer pipe organ, one of only five such instruments constructed especially for the largest Fox theatres in the country, and the exotic and elaborate decor helped people from all social classes in Detroit escape from the monotony of their everyday lives. A columnist for the Detroit Free Press wrote in the March 3, 1928 edition, "Few specimens of architectural splendor, either ancient or modern, surpass the new Fox Theatre. Temples to gods and palaces for kings, through long years were the only outlets for architectural dreamings-- until the significance of art in daily life became manifest and pervaded the buildings of intimate use." The Fox Theatre Building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The Fox Theatre Building is located at 2111 Woodward Avenue just north of Grand Circus Park and east of the Women's City Club. The building is open to the public.

Fox Theatre Fox Theatre
Photograph by Robert Eovaldi

Fox Theatre Entrance Fox Theatre auditorium, circa 1930
Photograph by Manning Brothers Commercial Photographers

Previous Site | Detroit Map | Detroit Itinerary Home | Next Site

Last Modified: EST
Comments or Questions