Grand Theatre

403 East 2nd Street,
Muscatine, IA 52761

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Grand Opera House, Muscatine, Iowa, ca. 1910

The Grand Opera House was opened in Fall of 1900. The Grand Theatre is listed as closed in 1940.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Muscatine’s Grand and Palace Theatres were sold by Midland Theatres to Fox West Coast Theatres in 1929, according to an item in Movie Age, November 2 that year. Both were among the Muscatine theaters operated at one time by Ludy Bosten, an exhibitor in the town from 1912 into the 1960s, according to an article about his career in the April 9, 1962, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

The Grand Theatre’s demise was recorded by a brief item in the March 17, 1945, issue of Boxoffice, which said that the house had been destroyed by a fire the previous week.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

According to a document prepared for the NRHP covering the history of Iowa opera houses from 1835 to 1940, the Grand Opera House in Muscatine was one of two Iowa houses designed by a St. Louis architect named George Johnston. He also designed the Midland Theatre in Fort Dodge, built in 1900. I’ve been unable to find any other information about George Johnston on the Internet.

As the earlier photo links are all dead, here are some photos of the Grand Opera House:

Exterior, October, 1901, which was probably around the time it opened.

Auditorium, around 1905.

A street scene with the Grand at right, taken in 1911.

Another exterior view from around 1910.

An exterior view from 1930.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm

A history of Muscatine published in 1911 has this paragraph about the Grand Opera House:

“In the spring of 1900 the building of the Grand Opera House on the northeast corner of Second and Walnut streets was commenced and completed the following fall. The building is a handsome one, constructed of St. Louis buff brick and stone and cost $30,000. Its seating capacity is 1,100, but at least 1,500 can be accommodated. The ground dimensions of the structure are 60x140 feet and height of stage loft 60 feet. It is strictly modern and up-to-date. There are eight private boxes and plush opera chairs. The stage is spacious and has many modern conveniences. Underneath it are dressing rooms, etc.”
Film Daily Yearbooks from the 1930s give the seating capacity of the Grand Theatre as 700. I suspect that the boxes and perhaps a gallery had been closed.

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