Gladmer Theatre, 223 N. Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

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

Seating Capacity:

Lower Floor: 575

Balcony: 432

Gallery: 500

Boxes: 60


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

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.


One thought on “Gladmer Theatre, 223 N. Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

  1. I knew the son ofa later owner of the Gladmer, Bob Stahl. His father was Merritt, at least that is how I remembered him being named. Not “Merrill.” Glady’s was not Merrit’s sister, but the daughter of a co-owner.

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