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Question about the Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Duluth

My students have questions about the Egyptian Theatre of the Duluth Masonic Center, 4 West Second St., Duluth. “The Egyptian Theater is a unique landmark in the city of Duluth, and its Kimball pipe organ has recently been restored.”

If you have info about construction, performances, and other historical information, please share below!

11 Comments

johnjaundice

about 6 years ago

Wow that is quite a space! I really hope someone responds!!!

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

As is generally the case with historic buildings in Duluth, zenithcity.com has a page about the Masonic Temple.

What can I add? Well ...

* This lodge is the headquarters for numerous Freemasonry organizations, but I couldn't name any of them. 

* The Scottish Rite Auditorium is totally sweet and must have about 350 seats.

* The auditorium hosted vaudeville shows a century ago. These days it hosts Wise Fool Shakespeare productions.

* The auditorium's walls feature hieroglyphics painted on linen back in 1904. They depict a man's life from birth to judgement day, taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

* The stage still has its original hand-painted watercolor backdrops used for the performance of the Degrees, a series of 29 morality plays illustrating the masons' beliefs about proper behavior. 

* The Scottish Rite Auditorium is the only mason theater in the United States with its backdrops intact.

* The stage still has its original footlights. Some lamps in the seating area still run on gas.  

* No booze allowed.

adam

about 6 years ago

UMD's School of Fine Arts hosted a screening of Nosferatu back in October that was fantastic. 

Except for the boring 30 minute spoiler presentation before the film. That felt like being trapped in a time share sales meeting.

hbh1

about 6 years ago

Your question is also timely, since it opened March 24, 1905. It was featured in one of this week's "This Day in Duluth" articles as well. There are some contemporary PDFs of newspaper articles at the bottom of the article. 

http://zenithcity.com/march-24-1905-masonic-temple-opens/

hbh1

about 6 years ago

mmmm.... rather, "PDFs of contemporary newspaper articles..."

Claire

about 6 years ago

I've seen a few plays there in recent years. Hamlet by Wise Fool, Amahl's Gift by LOON. It's a FABULOUS space, I wish it was used more often,

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

Screening Nosferatu there is a great idea.  I wonder if Zinema or someone could stage old silents there, Louise Brooks, etc.  That would be really fun.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

It slipped my mind that there is a PDD post in which the architectural work of J. J. Wangenstein was covered.

Duluth's Providence Building and other Wangenstein & Baillie projects

K. Praslowicz

about 6 years ago

We had a few company wide meetings in that theater last fall while we were being bought up by new owners. Does that count as performances?

greg cougar conley

about 6 years ago

I saw Hamlet by Wise Fool there as well. I have to say, I was completely enamored of the place. It's an incredibly beautiful theater, of course, but the back drops, the murals, the Freemasons -- all of it conspires to fascinate. I want to go there more often. If only the Freemasons would elect me as a candidate.

Swan

about 6 years ago

The Masonic Theater in Winona has a similar Egyptian decoration scheme.  The theater also has a complete and original set of Masonic backdrops.

Historic scenic backdrops on display in Winona

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