Grand Theater

Grand Theater.

The image to the right (enlarged from a real photograph postcard dated 1920) looks east on First Avenue from Roberts Street.

The Grand Theatre was built by George "Dad" Fowler at 622 First Avenue North. It opened in 1906. The Grand was built as a vaudeville theater. One of the first bookings was Al Jolson. Charlie Chaplin played at the Grand when his fee was $35 per week and train fare. Many other vaudeville stars of the day played at the Grand.

As vaudeville faded from popularity due to moving pictures, the Grand audience faded as well and last show was in 1927. At about 1am on Saturday, October 15, 1932, fire broke out in the deserted building. The fire caused $150,000 in losses to the building, which was ensured for only $48,000.

The Grand was rebuilt in 1935 by the American Amusement Company of Minneapolis as a movie theater. "Talkies" replaced the song and dance, bicycle acts, dog acts, and other live performers of vaudeville.

I remember the Grand in the 1950's and '60's but it no longer exists.

Grand Theater playbill.