Group fighting to save Senate Theater in Southwest Detroit

Posted at 6:58 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 18:58:12-04

The Senate Theater in Southwest Detroit is on the verge of closing its doors for good. That means their historic organ will go silent.

Lance Luce is President of the Detroit Theater Organ Society.

"It's a one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer there is not another one like it in the world," he said.

Luce and members of the Detroit Theater Organ Society don't want the curtains to close on the Senate Theater.

But lack of funding and attendance could stop the music.

"Our marquee is rusted out front and we had to take the letter board down, so we no longer have a marquee to advertise our shows, so it's a little difficult to get attendance to come to the shows if we don't have a marquee to advertise the programs."

The Senate Theater was built in 1926 and closed in the 1950's.

It was bought by the Detroit Theater Organ Society in 1961.

Joan Brown is a board member of the Detroit Theater Organ Society.

"The city of Detroit loses so much of its history everyday, the buildings decay," she said.  "They are taken down, so much isn't preserved and my message is just to preserve this beautiful instrument that has been a part of Detroit history."

The organ was purchased from the Fisher brothers and donated to the Senate Theater.

"The Mayan design that you see on the side of the console is what the Fisher Theater used to look like," Luce explained.

The man who bought the organ decades ago has been a major benefactor to the organization.

But, when he passed away more than a year ago, the Senate fell on hard times.

Luce added, "If we don't get people coming through the doors eventually, financially we would have to close."

The organ pipes take up four rooms behind the stage.

"The organ to us is priceless but let's say we were to find a new home for it, it would still cost us $100,000 just to move it," he added.

They are hoping to strike a chord with our viewers.

"I'm hoping to reach enough people that they might find a place in their to donate even a couple of dollars to see this building stay standing and this organ playing," Brown explained.

You can help save the Senate Theater and the organ by attending events there.

Their next organ concert is October 16.

You can donate to their GoFundMe page, click on:

For more information on the theater, go to: