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History of theaters in Wayne over the years

Shafer Wayne Theater

The history of theaters in Wayne begins with the Palace Opera House, which was a one-story meeting hall with a raised stage at one end. It was located about where Bakers Acre is on Michigan Avenue. Dances, speakers, political rallies, and high school graduations were held here from 1884-1908. That year it was torn down and a house built on the site.
The next theater was called the Alseium and was on Michigan Avenue where Mean Ink Tattoo used to be.
That storefront had a screen and moveable chairs inside and showed silent movies from 1913-1927. It later became the Wayne Dress Shop.
Next, The Wayne Theater opened in August 1927 along Michigan Avenue and was a purpose built movie theater and live vaudeville venue. The building had an orchestra pit, dressing rooms, a balcony and seating for 850 people. It remained in use as a theater until around 1951, when it was taken over by Wayne Music and became practice rooms. After a fire destroyed the lobby and storefronts in 1985 attempts were made to save and restore the theater auditorium, but after 25 years of trying the building was torn down in 2008.
The State theater was built in 1946 as a single 1,500 seat theater with a raised stage at the front. By the late 70s the theater was struggling and was split into two screens. A brief stint as a live music venue failed and the theater was closed and abandoned until the city bought it and restored it in 1990, splitting it into four screens.
The Wayne Drive-in opened in 1949 at Michigan Avenue and Maple Street, it had one screen and a 1,500 car capacity. In 1971 it was split into two screens, and four screens by 1985. The drive-in remained very popular but pressure from Ford to expand eventually meant the land was sold in 1990 and demolished.

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