Lyceum Theatre

423 W. Superior Street,
Duluth, MN 55802

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Additional Info

Architects: Francis Willford Fitzpatrick, Oliver Green Traphagen

Firms: Traphagen & Fitzpatrick

Styles: Romanesque Revival

Nearby Theaters

Lyceum Theatre exterior

Said to be Duluth’s first “fire-proof” theatre. It was built for live theatre in 1892, but in 1921 it was converted to showing movies.

The Lyceum Theatre was closed January 11, 1966 and was soon demolished.

Contributed by Kirk J. Besse

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

The Duluth Public Library posted this brief entry about the Lyceum on their weblog. It says the Lyceum opened in 1892, and was designed by Traphagen and Fitzpatrick. It was demolished in 1966.

There are thumbnail biographies of the architects on this page. Oliver Traphagen later moved to Hawaii, and was the architect of the Moana Hotel.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on August 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

From the 1920s a view of the Lyceum Theatre in Duluth.

culpurple on November 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

It’s hard to tell in any of the photo links above but this theater was adorned with high-quality stone carvings, the work of George Thrana. Thrana’s talent can still be found in Duluth on the facade of the old Duluth Central School, now the school district’s administrative building. The Board of Trade Building downtown on First Street is also graced by Thrana’s stone carvings. On either side of the Lyceum’s entrance stone carved Theatrical Masques were salvaged and are installed at the entrance to the Duluth Playhouse Theater in the historic Duluth Depot. The Lyceum was demolished in 1963.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

The exterior style of the Lyceum is predominantly Romanesque Revival. I’ve never found any interior photos.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

The Lyceum in Duluth is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. L. Scott and T. Marsh, Mgrs. 1,664 seats. Ticket prices 25 cents to $1.25; electric illumination, auditorium on the ground floor. The proscenium opening was 30 feet wide X 39 feet high, and the stage was 45 feet deep. There were 12 in the house orchestra. Duluth had 2 daily newspapers and 3 weeklies; and there were 4 hotels for show folk. The 1897 population of Duluth was 75,000.

culpurple on February 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Here is a link with an interior view of the Lyceum and its three balconies:
View link

CJ1949 on July 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

There was a closing in 1960, but researchers miss that it was reopened in July 1962 with “better seats, improved projection, wider screen.” Once in a while there would be a stage presentation such as “The King and I” (Aug ‘64). The final closing was Jan 11 1966: triple feature “The Sins of Rachel Cade”. “The Chapman Report”, “Girl of the Night”. Marie Dressler appeared at the theatre in Aug '31 promoting her film “Politics”. The theatre block was torn down for the KDAL-TV and radio building, which ironically was also recently demolished. There are at least two photos of the theatre front in the early 60s on the MN Digital web page cited in the previous comment.

menright on December 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

There’s a nice picture on Shorpy very similar to the postcard view above.

DavidZornig on March 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

1925 & 1963 photos added.

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