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.

Leave a reply