ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – Several of Escanaba’s most iconic buildings are getting a new lease on life, including the Old Michigan Theater.
The theater had been inactive for decades. Then, Steven and Courtney Godfrey came along in 2018.
“We just happened to walk by and see it and called to get a look at it, came through, and just really fell in love with the building,” said Courtney.
“It was in pretty rough shape—still is kind of in rough shape—but for some reason, we decided we wanted to work on it,” Steven said.
Since purchasing the Old Michigan the next year, the Godfreys have been renovating the theater.
“Slowly we’ve been trying to clean and we screwed down all the chairs because none of the chairs were screwed down,” Courtney said.
In 2022, the Old Michigan hosted its first haunted house.
“We just figured, we have a creepy old building so we might as well make good use out of it while we can,” said Courtney.
The haunted house is returning this year on October 13 and 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The Godfreys say it will be even better and scarier than last year.
“We hadn’t done anything like this before, so we learned a lot last year and we’re applying what we learned this year,” Steven said. “We did scare quite a few people, which was kind of the goal, but even the people we didn’t scare, they at least enjoyed it.”
Going back to the Old Michigan’s roots, the the Godfreys are also showing The Shining and A Nightmare on Elm Street throughout October.
“I think it’s like the perfect place to come and watch a scary movie,” Courtney said of the theater.
Funds from the haunted house and movie showings will go toward Steven and Courtney’s long-term goal. They plan to fully reopen the Old Michigan as a second-run theater, along with an arcade in the front of the building.
The Godfreys are excited to finally welcome audiences back into the seats of the Old Michigan Theater after so many years.
“I hope the people who came here when they were kids leave with that nostalgia,” Steven said. “I personally am not old enough to have those feelings, so for people like me, I want them to come in here and just have that experience with these older movies that you just can’t get anymore.”
Admission for the Old Michigan haunted house is $50 for a group of up to five people. Those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance here to secure a time slot. Tickets will be available for $10 per person at the door on a first-come, first-served basis as time allows during the event. The theater’s heating system is still under renovation, so guests are encouraged to dress accordingly.
Visit the Old Michigan Facebook page for updates on upcoming events, including spring movie showings.