For more than 100 years, the Grand Theatre has been a vital part of community life in Crookston, Minnesota. Starting out as a performance hall for vaudeville acts and plays and then evolving into a movie theater for silent films and finally “talkies,” the theater has remained successful by keeping up with the latest technology and the demands of the public.
The theater was designed by J. A. Van Wie and Theodore Hays of the Twin Cities Scenic Co. in Minneapolis and opened in 1910. At the time, it was hailed as the one of the finest theaters in Northwest Minnesota (and still is).
In 1932, the theater was remodeled to add a projection booth and Art Deco designs, and in 1954, CinemaScope was installed to start showing full movies. Then in 1984, an expansion was added to the original building to offer more movies to the community. The latest building remodel was completed in 2005, and new stadium seating, an updated sound system, and digital projectors were installed in 2015.
After many years of dedication to upgrade the theater while maintaining its charm and history, the Grand Theatre now touts top-of-the-line technology and an exceptional visitor experience. The theater’s digital projector technician notes that it has “the best sound in any single screen auditorium.”
Through the decades, the theater has always remained a centerpiece of both the town and the community. The first event held at the Grand Theatre was the State Butter and Cheese Makers convention in September 1910. On November 5, 1910 the theater’s grand opening was held, featuring New York actress Margaret Illington in the play “The Whirlwind.” Now, the space is regularly used by locals to host birthday parties and other gatherings.
The 110-year-old Grand Theatre is only one of the hidden gems you’ll discover in Crookston. With a mix of rich farmland, small businesses, and the finest healthcare at RiverView Health (which recently finished a $51 million expansion), the town provides locals and visitors with an overwhelming sense of community pride and that peaceful, easy, rural living feeling. Add in wonderful trails for any season and superior winter recreation, and it won’t take long for you to decide this is where you want to grow your business, your family, your career, and your future.
You’ll also find that one of the greatest treasures Crookston holds is its residents. With multiple generations of families living in the area, the community members enthusiastically come together and far exceed any expectation. Visit Crookston to get a taste of the good life.