The Capitol Theatre

Flint, Michigan | C.1924

Photo Credit: DLR Group


After sleeping for over 20 years, the historic Capitol Theatre has finally awoken. Reopening its doors in 2017, the fully restored structure once again welcomed excited patrons—and ample spectre sightings.

Ceremoniously opened in 1928, the Capitol was designed by John Eberson, a renowned theatre architect who designed more than 500 theatres in his lifetime – though less than 20 remain in the United States today. The Capitol was constructed in the architect’s “atmospheric style,” inviting audiences to be transported into a different environment along with the world of the performance. The theater’s interior was designed to look like a Roman garden*, with columned windows and roofs covered by a starry night sky ceiling (with the help of projectors of course).

While even the most punctual patrons came and went with each performance, apparently some spectral visitors decided to make the old theater a more permanent home. Throughout the theater’s history, workers have spotted shadowy figures in the second floor rafters with one visitor reportedly seeing a young girl in white sitting on the empty stage. There have even been reports of singing from various areas of the building, with no performers to be found.

In 2017, the concert hall’s hometown of Flint, Michigan — which had fallen on hard times in the previous decades — had something to sing about: a fully restored Capitol Theatre. Working with Uptown Reinvestments, DLR Group was contracted to fully restore the space back to its former glory, from rehabbing the interior plasterwork and statuary to replacing damaged terracotta on the structure’s exterior. Even the theater’s ceiling was updated, once again allowing audiences to imagine an open night sky. Having been kept alive by the local Farah family since the 1970’s even once it was closed to the public in 1996, the family’s hard preservation work paid off, allowing DLR and Uptown to pick up the pieces and thrust new life back into the iconic theater and its beloved community.

Today, movies, live theater, and musical performances of all types once again grace the Capitol’s stage. Sometimes still with the occasional uninvited otherworldly extra or disembodied song.

Written By: Seamus McMahon


*Roman Gardens

These gardens were the VIP lounges of antiquity. Not just a mere collection of flowers and shrubs; it was a stage for social drama. Lavish banquets unfolded in their shaded alcoves, and philosophers exchanged wisdom amidst the leaves.

The organized design was influenced by both Greek and Egyptian styles, which informed their ornamental horticulture, geometric layouts, water elements and variety of flowering foliage. They were originally practical spaces utilized as outdoor kitchens and a place to grow herbs. But ultimately, the natural landscapes transformed into spaces to host gatherings. The original “meet me by the fountain” rendezvous spot.

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