Welcome to CinemaTour!  Sign In

CinemaTour
 
Cinema History Around the World  
 HOME ·· CINEMAS ·· LINKS ·· BOOKS
 Contact Cinematour ·· Help & Hints ·· About Cinematour
 

Grand Theatre


2004 Photo from the Adam Martin collection
1139-49 G Ave
Douglas AZ

Closed National Register 1976
Record #15625  
 Opened: January 25, 1919
 Closed: 1958
 Current Use:
 Demolished:
Capacity: 1150 seats
Architect(s): M Eugene Durfee
Architectural Style(s): Beaux Arts
National Register: 1976
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Douglas Arts and Humanities Association.

The Grand Theatre is a jewel of Southwest architecture and a priceless piece of Douglas history. It was built in 1919 and has seen the likes of Ginger Rogers and John Philip Sousa grace its stage. Unfortunately, since the building closed in 1958, it has fallen into a state of disrepair and is badly in need of restoration to make it sparkle again.

The Grand was a project of the Lyric Amusement Company and was built at a cost of $250,000. The theatre, which was constructed of reinforced steel and concrete and featured a terra cotta facing, opened its doors as the largest movie theatre between Los Angeles and Texas on January 25, 1919.

Lyric Amusement was a family-run company founded by James N. Xalis, who, along with his five nephews who were also involved in the company, immigrated to the United States from Greece. They went into the movie theatre business after running several coffee shops in California and becoming smitten with the nickelodeon. The family bought their first movie theatre in Tucson, Arizona, before moving their headquarters to Douglas and acquiring a number of theatres in Southern Arizona.

The Grand Theatre struggled in its first two years of operation through an economic depression that impacted the copper industry and a national influenza epidemic that kept attendance low. In addition to movies, the Grand hosted many civic events and functions in its elegant tea room. Douglas High School held their graduation ceremony at the theatre for years.

The Grand, however, eventually prospered as the center of entertainment in Douglas in the era of large and luxurious theatres. The Grand featured a magnificent pipe organ to accompany the showing of silent movies and switched to sound in 1928. In addition to movies, stage companies from New York would routinely perform at the Grand on their way to California. Ginger Rogers appeared at the Grand when she was a teenager, John Philip Sousa performed at the theatre and the musical "Hit the Deck" had a successful run at the Grand as well.

The theatre closed in 1958 and was largely ignored by the community for decades. The roof caved in due to clogged gutters and, as a result, the infrastructure was virtually destroyed.

In the 1980s, several prominent Douglas residents, including Floy Mae King and others, bought the Grand for $1.00 and decided to try and restore it to its past glory. They formed a non-profit corporation, the Douglas Arts and Humanities Association, whose sole purpose is the restoration of the Grand Theatre, which has been designated as a historic site by the United States government.

The cost of the restoration is estimated at $2.2 million but the value of the Grand Theatre to Southern Arizona and to Douglas is priceless. The Arts and Humanities Association believes it is too important a building to lose without a fight. The building is an important part of Douglas' past and could very well be a key part of its economic and cultural future.

 Photos
 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

June 2004 photos from the Adam Martin collection.


63 KB · 625x417

64 KB · 625x417

65 KB · 625x417

79 KB · 417x625

75 KB · 625x417

83 KB · 625x417

61 KB · 625x417

59 KB · 625x417

51 KB · 417x625

45 KB · 625x417

58 KB · 625x417

61 KB · 417x625

65 KB · 417x625

52 KB · 625x417

68 KB · 625x417

51 KB · 417x625

114 KB · 625x938

51 KB · 417x625

44 KB · 625x417

52 KB · 416x625

53 KB · 625x417
---

Photos from the Douglas Arts and Humanities Association collection.


70 KB · 441x625

58 KB · 625x369

57 KB · 625x408

54 KB · 625x374


 External Links

---
---

Return to the top of this page   or   Return to the main page


Last featured 5/15/2005. Last edited 2/5/2014.

 
Fandango
Buy movie tickets, look up showtimes, watch trailers and more!

The content of this website is a research work in progress and is being provided to the public for informational purposes only. As such, articles may contain errors, bias, duplication, or need to be cleaned up. Some documents, images and logos contained in these documents belong to various organizations and corporations. Their inclusion here is for the benefit of the reader and for the benefit of the particular organization, but they are, in fact, the copyrighted property of those organizations. Their presence here does not imply any endorsement of CinemaTour by those organizations. CinemaTour is not affiliated with any cinema or circuit.

© 1995-2014 Vision Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.
Use of this site signifies agreement to terms of service.