Masonic Hall & Grand Theater, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE
Photo Caption Pages
818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS DE-170
Building/structure dates: 1871 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1910 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1980 subsequent work
Significance: It is one of the finest remaining examples of cast iron architecture in America. It is associated with several major events in Delaware's history, but more importantly, it is famous for its rich theatrical associations, having been a significant showplace during the heyday of American Theater in the last quarter of the 19th century. Upon completion in 1871, Wilmington could finally boast of an excellent theater for public entertainment. At the time, the stage was reputed to be the second largest in America, surpassed only by the Hippodrome. Most of the famous performers of the rime appeared at the Grand including Little Nell, Ethel Barrymore, and George M. Cohen. Plays, minstrel troupes, and even Buffalo Bill Cody's Scouts of the Plain provided a varied theatrical fare. Local musical organizations performed Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and oratorios. Lectures on various subjects were presented. The State Republican and Democratic conventions were also held here. The first motion picture was presented in the theater in 1897. After 1906, they were shown on a regular basis and by 1914 they replaced live performances. Throughout the history of the building the Masons have retained meeting rooms on upper floors of the building and until recently, were the owners of the building.
Motion Picture Theaters
Carson, Charles L.
Baird, Stephen T.
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. VIEW SOUTHEAST SHOWING NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION
2. VIEW SOUTH SHOWING NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION
3. VIEW EAST SOUTHEAST ACROSS NORTH (FRONT) BAYS SHOWING CAST IRON
4. VIEW SOUTH, DETAIL OF OUTER WEST BAY ON NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION
5. VIEW SOUTH, DETAIL OF INNER WEST BAY ON NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION
6. VIEW SOUTH, DETAIL OF EAST BAYS ON NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION
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