Postcard from the Lyceum Building

This undated postcard of Duluth’s Lyceum Theatre does not appear to have been mailed, though it does have a message on the back.

Flavilla Barrett wanted Aunt Helen to know “it was very cold last night,” and wondered what the weather was like “down there” wherever Helen might have been. An inquiry is also made on the condition of Uncle Ed.

The Lyceum Theater opened at 423-431 W. Superior St. in 1891 for performances of operas, plays and vaudeville. In 1921 it became a movie house. The six-story building was designed by Oliver Traphagen and Francis Fitzpatrick, and financed by Duluth lumberman Andreas Miller. It was said to have the largest stage north of Chicago. It had three balconies and seated more than a thousand people.

The Lyceum was demolished in 1966 and replaced with the KDLH-TV studio. The KDLH building was demolished in 2015 and replaced by the Maurices headquarters.

The theatrical masks that once adorned the front of the Lyceum were moved to the Duluth Depot’s theater. The stone bronze lions from the stairway are now outside the Lake Superior Zoo. Those details are shown with the red circles in the photo below, which is a blowup of the one above, shot by Hugh McKenzie.



about 3 years ago

History nerd Gina here. I went down a rabbit hole regarding the lion statues a while back, and had the article corrected on The lions were bronze, not stone, and were removed much earlier than the masks, in a 1920s renovation. The kids who climb on them still today at the zoo could tell you they are nice and smooth.


about 3 years ago

While we're at it, the writer of the postcard appears to be Flavilla Barrett, born in 1902. In 1921 she was a public school teacher living at 2306 W. Second St. She married Raymond Engle, who was involved in wholesale plumbing and heating, in 1928. 

The postcard wasn't sent perhaps because she did not address it correctly; I would put this postcard at about 1910 or so and her handwriting and postcard skills were still developing.

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