The Motor City Theatre Organ Society was established to promote the preservation of theatre organs in their original settings. To fulfill that mission, MCTOS owns and operates the Redford Theatre and its original-installation Barton Theatre Pipe Organ.

Members soon discovered that, in order to preserve the organ, the building would also need to be maintained. In addition, members felt that it would enhance the experience of audiences to restore the interior to its original design. Research began to determine what the appearance of the original decorations and fixtures was. In some cases, the original decorations were just covered up, in other cases they had been removed or destroyed. To replicate items that were no longer in existence, architectural drawings and old photographs were examined to discover the original designs.

The restoration of the interior of the Redford Theatre has steadily progressed since MCTOS took ownership of the building.

One of the first projects was the restoration of the Grand Foyer. Countless hours of volunteer labor went into recreating the original stencil patterns and wood-graining on the walls. Two chandeliers, removed from the lobby of Detroit's Oriental Theatre, were donated to the Redford and restored incorporating motifs from fragments of the Redford's original fixtures.

This series of pictures shows Donald Martin, chairman of the restoration committee, removing layers of old paint from an area of paneling in the Grand Foyer to reveal the original stenciling. This process must be done very slowly and carefully, using a variety of solvents, to remove the top coats of paint while preserving the original layers. The patterns were then traced to create stencils that are used to restore the originals. The last picture shows the final product.


The restoration effort has now continued into the auditorium. The same process was used to uncover and reproduce the stenciling and the color scheme of the auditorium. A major expense was the repainting of the atmospheric-style ceiling. The work was done by the same company that did the original painting of the ceiling. Once this was completed, efforts were directed toward the refinishing of the walls and proscenium. Much of this work was completed in time for the 70th anniversary celebration on October 24, 1998. George McCann took on the task of painting the walls using ladders and even a "cherry picker" to get the job done.

The border for this page was photographed from the stenciling that has been completed around one of the exit doors in the auditorium.

[Redford Theatre] [Calendar of Events] [Community Events] [Projection Booth] [History] [Restoration] [Organ] [MCTOS] [Artists] [Directions]
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