Considered one of the finest theatres in Michigan, the Gladmer made its début in 1873 as Buck’s Opera House with E. E. Myers as architect. It became Baird’s Opera House when Daniel Buck sold the space to James Baird in 1890.
Facing increasing competition from other downtown houses, the theatre was extensively renovated in 1910, becoming the Gladmer, Fuller Claflin serving as architect. According to Lost Lansing the name derived from the owner’s daughter and son, Gladys and Merrill.
Excerpts from the Cahn-Leighton Official Theatrical Guide, 1912-13:
F. J. Williams Manager
Lower Floor: 575
Proscenium Opening 36×30 feet
Footlights to Back Wall 42 feet
Between Side Walls 66 feet
Apron 2 feet
Between Fly Girders 54 feet
To Rigging Loft 72 feet
To Fly Gallery 30 feet
12 Dressing Rooms
The Michigan Agricultural College Record, April 19, 1918:
“At a house meeting in the woman’s building last week, new rules governing the girls’ attendance at downtown theaters were presented by Miss Arnot Lewis, president of the Women’s Student Council. Junior and senior girls may now attend the Gladmer, Colonial, or Plaza, unchaperoned, provided there are two or more couples in the party.”
Unable to compete with the shopping mall multiplexes, the Gladmer closed its doors in 1979. One of Lansing’s finest theatres demolished.
Postcard the collection of Theatre Talks LLC