Grand Opera House

818 North Market Street,
Wilmington, DE 19801

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Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE

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Built in 1871 by the Freemasons, the Grand Opera House evolved into a vaudeville house by the turn of the 20th century. Later, it became a movie theatre, operated by Harris Amusement Co. In 1930 it was taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. It was closed around 1967.

The Grand Opera House was restored during the 1970’s as a peforming arts center and continues to entertain audiences in its massive auditorium.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Clownzed on August 23, 2004 at 2:30 pm

This season (04-05), The Grand Opera house is having a classic film series, the first time they’ve shown movies there for a while! I;m very excited. Creature from the Black Lagoon (3-D), Casablanca, White Christmas, The Wizard of Oz, Rear Window, and others will be shown.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 8, 2007 at 4:29 pm

The Grand Opera House in Wilmington DE is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. The seating capacity is given as 1,330. Ticket prices ranged from 15 cents to $1. The manager was Jesse Baylis. The theatre was on the ground floor and had the “Edison system” of electricity. The proscenium opening was 40 feet square, and the stage was 45 feet deep. There were 7 members in the house orchestra. At the time, there were 4 newspapers in Wilmington, one of which was the Frei Presse, apparently a German-language paper. Hotels in town were the Clayton, Dennings, Delaware and Central. The 1897 population of Wilmington was 70,000.

barrygoodkin on May 27, 2007 at 10:52 am

The Grand Opera House (Grand)was part of the acqusition of the Harris Amusement Company of Pittsburgh by Warner Bros. in 1930. It operated as a movie house by Warner Bros. (Stanley Warner)until about 1967.

rave323 on December 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Can anyone give me info on the Cinemart on Gov Prinz? I can’t find any info anywhere, but, I stop to look at it every time I’m in the area. What a mystery. The only thing I can tell is that I was built in the 60’s due to the chandelier and font on the front sign.

britta1988 on March 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I’ve seen this theater in connection with Dockstader. But then I also saw the Dockstader Theater as Dockstader’s Wonderland. Does this theater have any other names? Does anyone know any more connections with this theater and it’s vaudeville history?

offhollywood on April 17, 2011 at 4:41 am

If I’m not mistaken, they do sometimes show older classic movies here occasionally….it might have been Gone with the Wind or something.

There’s another theater attached to it, the Baby Grand. Not sure it’s history or if it ever showed films.

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