Dakota Theater

1416 N. 3rd Street,
Grand Forks, ND 58201

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Empire Theatre, Orpheum Theatre

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Originally opened by 1908 as the Empire Theatre. It was renamed Orpheum Theatre in 1918 after being damaged by a fire. In around 1935, it was renamed Dakota Theatre. It was part of the Berger Amusement chain in the early-1960’s. The president was Benjamin Berger. The company was based in Minneapolis, and in fact ran only this theater in North Dakota at that time. The rest of the Berger theaters were in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

tkinz on February 17, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I remember seeing Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm

This web page with an extensive history of the Empire Theatre in Grand Forks also has information about the Dakota Theatre. The Dakota itself was originally called the Empire Theatre, but had been renamed the Grand Theatre sometime before 1918, in which year it was damaged by a fire. After the fire, the house was rebuilt and reopened as the Orpheum Theatre. The page doesn’t say when it became the Dakota Theatre, but Chuck’s earlier comments suggest that it was probably renamed in 1935.

The August 6, 1931, issue of The Film Daily had a brief item about the house: “Grand Forks, N. D. — Work has been started on rebuilding the Publix Orpheum.”

According to the official web site of the Heights Theatre in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, the bottom section of that restored theatre’s stage curtain is from the Orpheum in Grand Forks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The first Empire Theatre goes back to at least 1908, when it is mentioned in several issues of The Billboard as a vaudeville house.

Chris1982 on July 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm

The last year this theatre was listed as the OIrpheum was in 1932. By 1933 it was listed as the Dakota Theatre.

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