Nor Shor Theatre

211 E. Superior Street,
Duluth, MN 55810

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1929 photo from the collection of Jim Hefferman.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally built in 1910 as the Orpheum Theatre. Designed by architect John E.O. Pridmore, it had its main entrance at 10 N. 2nd Avenue East. At sometime before 1929, the entrance was moved around the corner to Superior Street.

In 1941, it was renovated to the plans of architects Liebenberg & Kaplan in an Art Deco style, reopening as the Nor Shor Theatre in October 1941. Seating was provided for 1,300 in orchestra and balcony levels. After a failed conversion into a live concert venue a few years ago, this former vaudeville-house-turned-movie-theatre was used as a nightclub for several years. It was closed in November 2010.

In February 2012 it was announced that the theatre would be renovated to the plans of architectural firm TKDA of St. Paul. A reopening is planned for December 2017.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

PennyPetersen on March 5, 2002 at 7:37 pm

A Guide to the Architecture of MN lists the architect of the 1910 Orpheum Theater as J.E.O.Pridmore. Pridmore also designed the 1920 State Theater in Minneapolis.

Broan on September 26, 2005 at 5:26 pm

A Feb 26, 1911 Chicago Tribune article likewise lists Pridmore

spectrum on November 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

The Nightclub has closed. Interesting, the building to the right, on the corner of the block says on its top, “Temple Opera House” – nice circa 1900 facade. That building now houses a computer store.

ThomJP on April 3, 2011 at 9:26 am

The Orpheum Theatre was built in 1910 on the site of the Temple Opera House which was part of the Temple Opera House Building that contained in its 6 stories the Masonic Temple among other offices, etc. At sometime prior to 1929 the entrance on Second Avenue East and the Magquee were changed around the corner to Superior Street.
In 1940 the Orpheum was gutted, the auditorium reversed and totally redesigned in the Art Deco style and renamed the Norshor. The new entrance and lobby is adjacent to where the second Orpheum entrance was. The three top stories of the Temple Opera Building were removed to clear of view of the Norshor Lighted Tower of the new theatre.
In the Detroit Publishing company photo site there is a photo showing the Opera House partially demolished prior to the construction of the Orpheum.
I grew up in Duluth and attended the Norshor many times but knew nothing of the Orpheum even though the corner business in the Temple Building housed the Orpheum Drug Store. The Norshor has been purchased by the city of Duluth and the Duluth Playhouse will operate it at some time in the future. I recently returned (after 40 years to Duluth and had a tour of the now closed Norshor. It is in pretty bad shape. I understand that they have discovered behind the existing ceiling the original gilt Orpheum ceiling and portions of the second balcony.

packer on February 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Exciting new plans just announced to get the Norshor operating and restored. See link:

spectrum on January 1, 2015 at 11:51 am

According to the below article, the Nor-Shor reopened in 2013 after a $29,000,000 restoration.

spectrum on January 1, 2015 at 11:54 am

Looks like the link I mentioned above was inaccurate. According to the Nor-Shor’s website, renovations are still underway.

dallasmovietheaters on February 5, 2017 at 4:24 am

Closed for decorating in 1946 when Eugene Gilboe of Dallas created three seascape murals measuring 15'x30' that were attached to the walls and did the auditorium with a submarine motif.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

The official web site says their target for completion of the renovations and reopening is December, 2017.

The project was designed by the St. Paul architectural firm TKDA. There is a slide show with three drawings on the firm’s web site.

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