Grand Opera House
135 West 8th Street,
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Designed by architect Willoughby J. Edbrooke the Grand Opera House opened August 14, 1890. It was remodelled in 1910 to the plans of architectural firm Rapp & Rapp. Until 1930, the Grand Opera House featured names like George M. Cohan, Lillian Russell, Ethel Barrymore, and Sara Bernhardt on its stage. Even “Ben Hur” was staged there, complete with chariots, horses, and elephants.
In 1930, the theater’s second balcony was removed, reducing the seating capacity from 1,100 to 644. A signifcant change, as the Grand Opera House had been the largest theater ever built in Dubuque. Projection equipment was also installed and the theater became known as the Grand Theatre.
Movies continued for another 58 years, until 1986, when the Grand Theatre was purchased by the Barn Community Theatre and has since returned to live theatre, and is once again known as the Grand Opera House.
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