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The Fillmore: Home to Detroit Concerts Since 1925, Sort Of

BY: Shannon Jewitt | Jul 6, 2015
The Fillmore: Home to Detroit Concerts Since 1925, Sort Of

The Fillmore Detroit is not only a historic Detroit music hall, but it’s also quite the chameleon. Throughout its 90-year history, The Fillmore has had more name changes than Prince. It’s housed within the 12-story, terra-cotta-covered Palms Building, and the elegant venue harkens back to an earlier era with its ornate 80-foot ceilings, shimmering chandeliers, and plush red-and-cream color scheme. Aside from creating a unique venue for Detroit concerts, the theater’s nostalgic look serves as a testament to its storied history. Check out a brief timeline of The Fillmore Detroit, which includes several reincarnations of the building.

1925: Designed by legendary Detroit theater architect C. Howard Crane, the Renaissance Revival–style structure was originally built as a movie house and opened in October as the State Theatre.

1937: The theater was renamed the Palms-State Theatre on May 22. Don’t worry, that won’t last for long.

1949: Apparently those extra six characters were quite the mouthful, so the theater’s name was shortened to the Palms Theatre, referred to as simply The Palms. The name comes from the building that houses the theater—the Palms Building. The building was constructed by the Palms Realty Co. and named after Detroit’s prominent real-estate mogul Francis S. Palms.

Late 1950s, early 1960s: As the Palms Building was being modernized, its movie house was converted to a concert venue. Although the theater retained much of its original character, its floor seating was ripped out to create standing room. However, the balcony and mezzanine levels still have their seats.

1982: It was renamed as the State Theatre. Again.

1984: The building and theater were added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 25. So show some respect.

1993: The Detroit Music Awards Foundation moved its annual Detroit Music Awards show to the venue.

2007: To capitalize on the legendary Fillmore Theatre brand—and the iconic Fillmore venue in San Francisco—concert promoter Live Nation changed the venue’s name to the Fillmore Detroit.

2015: For the first time, American Idol took its show on the road, recording two episodes at the Fillmore Detroit. The top 24 contestants performed for the show’s judges, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban, as well as a live audience. Not surprisingly, the episodes focused on Motown music.