Highland Theater

The Highland is a theater on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, MI. Originally named the Highland Park it was designed by architect B.C. Wetzell and built in 1915, with a capacity of around 600. After the boom times of the city ended, the theater was renamed the Paris in 1967 and showed adult movies. In 1969 the name changed again to the Hiland Arts Theater and continued to show adult films, with its owner later arrested on indecency charges.

Some time in the 80’s the name changed again to Fancy Pants, a catwalk was installed near the stage, and the theater became a strip club.

When and under what circumstances it closed is unclear, though it’s plainly obvious that the theater has been in disrepair for a long time. A few details are still visible, mostly painted tiles on the walls. The lobby, a semi-detached building facing Woodward Avenue has burned and partially collapsed. A large fire in July of 2011 burned through the furniture store next door, doing minor damage to the theater.

Most of the roof over the theater has fallen in, allowing the elements in and decay to take over. Until the fall of 2011, most of the original theater chairs were still in place, though rusted and rotting. A few months later scrappers had smashed all of them for what little metal was left.

The Highland sits on a block that is almost entirely deserted. Its advanced state of decay and troubled surroundings make it unlikely that it will ever see use again.

Special thanks to Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre for their help with this location.