Photo: Ann Arbor District LibraryThe Star Theatre was an early downtown storefront theater, located where Arbor Brewing Company stands today.


One of four early storefront theaters Downtown, The Star – "cool and comfortable" – featured Vaudeville acts in addition to five-cent films. It was the site of a famous 1908 riot when more than a thousand UM students stormed, looted, and sacked the theater. The combined efforts of the police and fire departments, even UM president James Angell, failed to quell the disturbance.

March 16, 1908 was the date of the historic student riot at the Star Theater on East Washington Street where Conlin & Weatherbee Clothiers is now located. The cause of the riot as related by witnesses was that the manager of the theater and a pool room operator or owner on State Street had approached one of the University of Michigan’s star football players with a financial offer if he, the player, would “throw” a certain game. These two businessmen would bet heavily on the opposing team in this particular game.


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