Documenting the American South


Going to the Show


25 N. Front, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dates of Operation 12/24/1910* - 4/1923*
Performance Types illustrated songs , movies
Racial Policy presumed white
DescriptionThe Grand was located in a downtown building known as the “iron-front” building, so named because of its cast-iron columns. While other movie theaters in Wilmington operated from early afternoon until late evening, the Grand was open only at night.
Building NotesThe three-story commercial building that housed the Grand was built in 1878 and still stands. The first floor of the renaissance-style structure was for many years a clothing store, in the early 1880s by Louis Otterbourg for his "Iron Front Men's Wear Depot," and in 1889 by S.H. Fishblate for his men's clothing store. The storefront space "repurposed" to make the Grand was fairly large by local standards: 36 feet along its front on N. Front Street, extending approximately 75 feet to the rear. In 1914, J.M. Solky renovated the theater interior and built a 25-foot extension onto the rear, making the theater 36 feet by 100 feet.
Associated Persons
Banks, Frank singer (12/25/1910*)
DeBruler, R.H. lessee (4/10/1915* - 7/1915*)
Deluca Brothers lessee (7/1915* - 11/10/1915)
Gause, James F. architect (8/22/1914*)
James Howard manager (1915*)
Kinneman , Mrs. Robert pianist (12/7/1920*)
Kneisel, John F. music director (12/25/1910*)
Langenberg, Earl W. manager (1917*)
Marshall, R.D. operator
Morgan, Harry singer (1/1/1911)
Solky, Jacob M. proprietor (12/24/1910*)
Wells, Percy W. manager
Associated Organizations
Howard-Wells Amusement Co. unknown
Tidewater Power Company unknown


  1. Grand Timeline Commentary
    Tags: illustrated song; music; renovation

Newspaper Clippings

  1. "The Grand" Opens Tonight - restaurant opening by Grand theater manager
    Wilmington Star - 3/7/1907
    Tags: manager; opening notice; racial policy
  2. The Grand Theatre Opening
    Wilmington Star - 12/25/1910
    Tags: band or orchestra; company; hours of operation; illustrated song; manager; opening notice; program change; ventilation
  3. At Joyland
    Wilmington Star - 12/30/1910
    Tags: company; film title; illustrated song; music; program change; promotions
  4. At Joyland
    Wilmington Star - 12/31/1910
    Tags: band or orchestra; film title; illustrated song; ladies and children; music; newsreels; vaudeville
  5. At Joyland - illustrated song singers
    Wilmington Star - 1/1/1911
    Tags: film title; illustrated song; program change
  6. Joyland - illustrated song singers
    Wilmington Star - 1/3/1911
    Tags: film title; illustrated song
  7. At Joyland Today - illustrated song singers
    Wilmington Star - 1/4/1911
    Tags: band or orchestra; film title; illustrated song; program change; vaudeville
  8. New Theatre Building - Victoria
    Wilmington Dispatch - 4/7/1913
    Tags: architect; ladies and children; manager; proposed theater; seating capacity; vaudeville; ventilation
  9. Victoria Opens Tomorrow - vaudeville
    Wilmington Star - 1/11/1914
    Tags: balcony; hours of operation; manager; opening notice; program change; seating capacity; vaudeville
  10. Building Goes On
    Wilmington Dispatch - 8/6/1914
    Tags: renovation; WWI
  11. To Enlarge Grand Theatre
    Wilmington Star - 8/22/1914
    Tags: architect; manager; renovation; seating capacity; ventilation
  12. Manages Victoria - Mr. F. W. Peiffer Takes Charge of Popular Playhouse Monday
    Wilmington Dispatch - 10/30/1914
    Tags: admission price; change in owner; ladies and children; manager; vaudeville; WWI
  13. Victoria Theater - Brief Season of Moving Pictures
    Wilmington Dispatch - 11/30/1914
    Tags: admission price; balcony, racially segregated; feature film; film title; program change; racial policy; seating capacity; vaudeville; ventilation; WWI
  14. Solky Theaters Under New Manager - Victoria, Grand
    Wilmington Dispatch - 4/10/1915
    Tags: admission price; feature film; manager
  15. Theatre Deal Closed Today - Howard and Wells are Now Lessees of Both Victoria and Grand Theatres
    Wilmington Star - 11/10/1915
    Tags: manager
  16. Close Deal for Theatres - Messrs. Howard and Wells, Owners of Bijou and Royal, Secure Leases on Victoria and Grand
    Wilmington Star - 11/11/1915
    Tags: manager
  17. Grand - Ad - feature film
    Wilmington Star - 5/7/1916
    Tags: admission price; birth of a nation; feature film; film title
  18. In Charge of Projection - Royal
    Wilmington Star - 5/7/1916
    Tags: feature film; projectionist
  19. Grand - Ad - "Sally in our Alley" feature film
    Wilmington Star - 8/17/1916
    Tags: admission price; feature film; film title; program change
  20. Grand - Ad - local film "Wilmington on the Screen"
    Wilmington Dispatch - 5/13/1917
    Tags: admission price; children; company; feature film; film title; local films
  21. Grand - Ad - war serials
    Wilmington Star - 11/7/1917
    Tags: actualities; serials; WWI
  22. Grand - Ad - Women only screenings
    Wilmington Star - 11/19/1917
    Tags: film title; hours of operation; lecturer; men only screenings; morality; women only screening; WWI
  23. Bijou - Ad - admission price
    unknown publication - 1918
    Tags: admission price; newsreels
  24. Motion Picture History In the Making In Story of Local Theatrical Moguls
    Wilmington Dispatch - 4/13/1919
    Tags: program change; tent; ventilation
  25. Howard-Wells Amusement Company, Bijou Amusement Company - Ad
    Wilmington Star - 9/28/1919
    Tags: company; program change; vaudeville
  26. Grand Theater Obtains Organist
    Wilmington Dispatch - 12/7/1920
    Tags: film title; manager; music; pianist
  27. For Rent--Rooms in the Grand Theater Building - Ad
    Wilmington Dispatch - 7/9/1922
  28. Theaters Sold - Grand, Victoria
    unknown publication - 4/3/1923
    Tags: change in owner; manager
  29. Theater Building To Be Remodeled
    Wilmington News - 4/30/1923
    Tags: closing; manager; storefront theaters
  30. $30,000 Will Be Spent On Remodeling Front St. Store - Grand
    Wilmington Dispatch - 7/10/1923
    Tags: renovation; storefront theaters
  31. Amusement Company Will Lease Properties After Last of the Old Year - Victoria, Royal, Bijou
    Wilmington Dispatch - 12/24/1923
    Tags: admission price; change in owner; company; manager
  32. Member of Modoc Crew Found Dead
    Wilmington News - 2/13/1931
    Tags: storefront theaters
  33. Sulke Buys In Theatre Sites
    Wilmington News - 3/12/1933
    Tags: change in owner
  34. Four Theatre Sites Advertised For Sale
    Wilmington News - 4/13/1933
    Tags: closing
  35. Trustee To Sell Theater Sites
    Wilmington Star - 4/13/1933
    Tags: closing
  36. Howard & Wells Sue J.M. Sulke
    Wilmington Star - 8/2/1933
    Tags: company; licensing; manager; notable
  37. Howard Funeral Tuesday Morning - company
    Wilmington News - 3/7/1938
    Tags: company; manager
  38. Colony is Closed - Theatre Began as the Victoria - No Plans For Old Structure
    Wilmington Star - 10/31/1974
    Tags: actualities; alias; architect; band or orchestra; closing; company; feature film; film title; hotel; manager; name change; renovation; re-opening; seating capacity; sound films; vaudeville