Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell--pioneer lawyer,state legislator and civic leader -- built this theatre between 1902 and 1903. Many traveling companies played here and praised the features that made it unique among the playhouses of the era. Theatrical artist Walter Burredge painted the main curtain utilizing the theme "A Grove Near Athens." The dome and lobby murals were the work of Thomas Ramsdell's son Frederick. Public spirited citizens saved the landmark from demolition in the early 1920s. It was acquired by the city of Manistee in 1953. The Manistee Civic Players have helped to preserve its architecture and interior decor. The Ramsdell Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1972.