August 20, 1914: Grand Theatre opens in Duluth

Duluth’s Grand Theatre, later the Lyric. (Image: Duluth Public Library.)

On this day in 1914, Mose and Barney Cook’s Grand Theatre opened in Duluth at 213 West Superior Street. Unlike other grand theaters in Duluth, the $100,000 vaudeville house opened to little fanfare, even though manager Ed Salter promised that “the interior arrangement and conveniences will be a revelation to Duluthians.” The newspaper considered its crowning achievement to be a nursery for children, as kids under four years old were not permitted in the auditorium. The facility, managed by women, included a miniature merry-go-round and another ride called a “hump-the-bumps.” The theatre’s 1,500-pound fireproof asbestos curtain was operated by hydraulics, peace of mind for the 1,200 patrons the auditorium accommodated. Built on the site of the former St. James Hotel, the Grand’s façade was said to be of “modified French Renaissance” style. Its doors were made of mahogany and brass, and the lobby was paneled with slabs of marble wainscoting. In 1922, with vaudeville dying, the Grand merged with the Lyric Theatre. The Lyric moved out of its location and into the Grand. The building was converted to a movie house and renamed the Lyric. The building was torn down in 1976 to make room for Normandy Mall, known today as the Holiday Center Mall. Read the history of the Grand here and the coverage of its 1914 opening here: GrandTheatre_8.16.1914_DNT, here: GrandTheatre_8.20.1914_ad_DNT, here: GrandTheatre_8.20.1914_DNT, and here: GrandTheatre_8.24.1914_DNT.

One Response to August 20, 1914: Grand Theatre opens in Duluth

  1. By the time I came along in the 1940s and ’50s, it was named the Lyric and didn’t look anything on the outside like the Grand Theater pictured here. By then it was a second-run or B movie house, but a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon with the Bowery Boys (aka Dead End Kids), Laurel & Hardy (their ’30s oeuvre) and that indomitable Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan of the Apes, aka Johnny Weissmueller (also from his 1930s efforts brought back). It sat abandoned for many years before being torn down to make room for what is now the Holiday Mall, its final role as the namesake for that entire block.

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