Duluth’s Sunbeam Theatre

Sunbeam Theatre Duluth 1915

At the top of the “theaters just about no living person has heard of” category is Duluth’s Sunbeam Theatre, located at 109 W. Superior St. from 1908 to 1922. The Minnesota Reflections website notes “the silent film Highbrow Love was out in 1913. In 1922 the motion picture theater the Astor took that address, and the Sunbeam moved to 103 W. Superior St., where it remained until 1930.”

The old photo shows a millinery shop at 107 W. Superior St.

Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub is presently at the original Sunbeam location, 109 W. Superior St. The neighboring building to Dubh Linn is the not-for-long headquarters of Maurices, where the Sunbeam stood for its final years.

Dubh Linn and Maurices


Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Sunbeam Theatre ad 1920

PDD's Fairy Research Spy found this ad in the June 22, 1920, Duluth News Tribune, which indicates the theater opened on June 22, 1907.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Sunbeam owner J.B. Clinton went on to transform the Lyceum -- "the most beautiful theater in the northwest" -- with Charles Meyers. They changed it from an opera house into a "combination home for photoplays and legitimate road productions." This article from 1921 provides background on both.


Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Here are ads for other theaters from the same issue of the paper as the 13th anniversary Sunbeam ad above. (Note: this is not the original newspaper layout, but a manipulation of the images for the purposes of cramming them all into this space.)

Theater ads from 1920

Tony D.

about 8 years ago

J. B. Clinton may have owned and reopened the Lyceum in 1921, converting its auditorium so that it could run movies, but he sure didn't build it. The theatre had already been standing for 30 years by then. It was built by A. M. Miller, a lumber tycoon who also gave Duluth the money that eventually built the Miller Hospital, which became Miller-Dwan, which merged with St. Mary's to become SMDC, which we all know today as the Duluth campus of Essentia Health.

In 1922 the Sunbeam moved to 103 West Superior Street and the New Astor Theatre took over its previous location. The Sunbeam was gone by 1930, and the New Astor ten years later, replaced with Snyder’s Drug. 

You can find a history of the Lyceum here and discover more about Duluth's smaller historic theaters here.


about 8 years ago

I love the 1920 ad; "There has never, knowingly, in all that time been a picture shown of which the owner's mother would not approve" is funny on so many levels:

1) Awkward passive, multiclause construction.
2) It strongly implies there was at least one incident in which they unknowingly showed something really indecent; I can imagine the scene now. 

3) Since when is your mother the standard moral arbiter? A more cynical age would suggest that her financial interest in the success of the theater may have compromised her exercise of rectitude.

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