Palace Theatre

1102 Tower Avenue,
Superior, WI 54880

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Showing 14 comments

Yves Marchand
Yves Marchand on May 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Very interesting video. Thanks for sharing Joe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I failed to explain in my previous comment that the page of thumbnails can be used to start the video at the point each thumbnail depicts, so you can watch any particular segment over again. Just click on it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

To belatedly answer Yves Marchand’s question, yes the photos on that page do depict the Palace Theatre.

Prior to the theater’s destruction, a tour of the Palace was captured on video, and it can be watched on this page at the Internet Archive. It can also be downloaded in either of two formats, and if you have problems with the video there is also a page with several thumbnail stills. Many of the interior shots are extremely dark, but the video is still worth a look. Running time is 7:22.

An announcement of the start of construction on the Palace appeared in the September 16, 1916, issue of Moving Picture World:

“New Palace at Superior, Wis.

“Duluth, Minn.—We have received from Frank N. Phelps, manager of New Grand Theater Co. of Duluth, Minn., the following communication: Contracts for construction of the Palace theater at Tower avenue and Eleventh street, Superior, Wis., by the Cook Amusement company, have been let. The amount of the contract was withheld by the amusement company incorporators, the Cook Brothers and Frank Phelps of the New Grand theater. Furnishings for the house, heating, ventilating and lighting will be contracted for later.

“Work on the theater building will begin Monday and it is hoped to have it completed by January 1. The house will be 50 x 140 feet, constructed of reinforced concrete, brick and terra cotta. It will be fireproof and will have a seating capacity of 1,200 on two floors.”

HowardBHaas on August 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

Mural of the theater:

Yves Marchand
Yves Marchand on September 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

I suppose the page below has pictures taken inside the Palace Theater. Somebody could confirm this ?

PaulWolter on April 14, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Does anyone have any pictures of the building to share?

VincentPrice on November 5, 2006 at 11:10 am

Sadly, the Palace Theater was demolished on Wednesday, November 1, 2006

dalerthomas on July 6, 2006 at 7:18 am

The end of the Palace Theatre is probably coming very soon. Here is a link to the Daily Telegram Article:


Here is the first portion of the article:

Council Considers Fate of Palace
Shelley Nelson/News Editor
The Daily Telegram
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2006 02:53:04 PM

The final curtain may fall tonight for Superior’s historic Palace Theater.
The City Council will consider rejecting the sole proposal to redevelop the historic 1102 Tower Ave. vaudeville and movie house. Councilors also will consider disbanding a task force created to find a developer who would restore the theater to its former glory.
The decision could make the theater a thing of the past on the city’s landscape.

dalerthomas on June 27, 2006 at 3:25 pm

I have done a fair amount of research and exploring of the Palace Theatre over the years as part of several different efforts to consider restoration of the historic building.

When I have some time, I will make a detailed posting that describes the timeline from initial construction through a series of alterations to the lobby, marquee and front entryway. I have explored almost every inch of the theatre in visits over the years. In the 1980s, shortly after closing, it was in fine shape except for a bit of dust and grime. I walked through the basement playground area (none of the playground equipment was there), through the tunnel under the main house, past the dilapadated dressing rooms under the stage, by the animal cage room (from the vaudville era), up through the main house to the very top of the massive balcony and into the cramped projection booth. The projectors are still up there!

Not long after it closed in 1982, the Victory Fellowship took over the building for a church. And over the years, they did things like remove seats (most of which seem to be stacked on the stage now) and tore out some of the lobby (which was really just a horrible art deco change from the original design anyway). But they really just left things in a state of half destruction. During the 1990s, while the building was essentially abandoned, the pidgeons moved in with a vengance! It was the midwest’s largest pidgeon coop for many years until the city took possesion and eventually boarded up the windows and entry points.

Fortunately, copies of the “original” Rapp & Rapp blueprints exist. They are part of a collection stored in the Northwest Architectural Archives at University of Minnesota. They were part of the Liebenberg and Kaplan collection, a firm noted for designing more than 200 motion picture theatres in the Upper Midwest, many of the early ones featuring an art deco style. The Liebenberg & Kaplan Papers included copies of the Palace Theatre plans because the firm was responsible for all of the remodelings of the Palace through the years.

I obtained photo copies of the plans back in the early 1980s as part of the initial effort to save the theatre, and possibly return it to it’s original use as a stage theatre. Those copies were lost over the years and when the newest effort to rescue the theatre came about in late 2003, I returned to the Archive. This time I procured digital scans of all the plan sheets including initial construction plans and all the remodeling project plan sets. The Douglas County Historical Society has those scans in their collection now.

I will do a more complete posting including the timeline of alterations to the Theatre and hopefully some photos from the early years through present day.

If you want to help save this structure, contact the Douglas County Historical Society to see what can be done. At the very least, the structure could use a massive volunteer effort to clean the place and patch the holes that are allowing deterioration to continue.

kencmcintyre on June 7, 2006 at 1:58 pm

Here are minutes from the Board of Supervisors in December 2001 regarding transfer of the Palace to the city of Superior:

kencmcintyre on June 7, 2006 at 1:54 pm

Here is another article concerning restoration:

HighPlainsDrftr on June 7, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Within the past 6 months or so , the Palace was sold for $1.00 to a private buyer/developer. The city wants the building renovated with a sufficient amount of time, otherwise the mayor will use strong arm tactics to have the theatre torn down. The current mayor in office wants to demolish alot of the Historical structure of Superior for new developments. The city council suggested that the theatre be torn down and replaced with a replica, in its place. So….lets go from a beautiful Historical, Vintage, Art-deco piece of history and replace it with a Corporate Retro fit….

I believe that the theatre is protected by the Historical Society and cannot be torn down….but I am not exactly sure of those details.

nelsonexpert on May 17, 2006 at 9:43 pm

The building is still standing, but if there is a buyer out there – you better act quick. Call city hall in Superior, Wisconsin.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 28, 2005 at 7:24 am

Here is the latest news from Superior, courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune newspaper:
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