Garrick Theatre

34 Sixth Street West,
St. Paul, MN 55102

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Opened in 1890 by Milwaukee-born Jacob Litt, the Grand Opera House in St. Paul could seat around 1200 amidst Beaux-Arts finery, including two sets of box seats, a large balcony and moderate-sized stage. Opening day included a speech by the Governor of Minnesota, and attendance by most of the leading families of St. Paul.

Not only did the Opera House stage operatic fare, but musicals and legitimate theater as well, during the 1890s and into the first decade of the 20th century. Also, around the same time, oddly enough, the Opera House was the venue for boxing matches, including appearances by such legends as John L. Sullivan and “Gentleman” Jim Corbett.

A blaze in early 1912 destroyed a portion of the Opera House, but it was rebuilt and reopened later that same year, as a burlesque house. Just two years later, it was closed again, and remodeled once more, with interior decor based upon New York City’s Strand Theatre (which is the name that the former Opera House now went by as well). It housed a $5000 pipe organ, had its own house orchestra, as well as a colossal electrically illuminated roof-top sign. The Strand became primarily a movie house, though it still continued to host live entertainment as well.

Very soon after, it received a final name change, as the Garrick. From the 20s into the 40s, it was a first-run film house, and in its early years screening movies, the Garrick even had reserved seating and higher prices for box seats.

However, by the end of WWII, the Garrick had definitely seen better days, and was showing B-grade double-and-triple features. Shortly after it closed in early 1950, it was razed to make way for a parking garage.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

teecee
teecee on March 10, 2005 at 11:49 am

Old photo at this link:
View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 4, 2006 at 5:31 pm

Here are some photos of the Garrick shortly before its demolition in April 1950, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society:
http://tinyurl.com/k9lo6
http://tinyurl.com/oq9d8
http://tinyurl.com/p7srp

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 18, 2006 at 4:30 pm

This is a photo of the Dyckman Hotel, also on Sixth Street. I believe that there was a theater on the ground floor, but I won’t add it unless someone can corroborate. Also if it’s listed under another name, let me know:
http://tinyurl.com/qv7f4

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 8, 2009 at 5:53 am

Here is a picture of the Grand Opera House.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 9, 2009 at 4:00 pm

This is a circa 1901 photo of the Grand Opera House.

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