Orpheum Paper

656 Words3 Pages
On September #, 2001, the lush ruby-red curtain was drawn and music by (person) began to fill the theater. Each of the 2200 seats was filled as they listened in awe and gazed around the French Renaissance-styled room. The finale of the evening’s program featured a prideful rendition of America the Beautiful by the audience and led by Mayor (X). Just days before then, the infamous September 11th attacks had happened on the east coast. The shock was still fresh, but this night was not a night of mourning, but of celebration. After an estimated $12 million and a decade long renovation project, the Orpheum Theater of Sioux City, Iowa was back to its original 1920’s grandeur.
The Orpheum Theater is one of the oldest buildings in the down-town area of Sioux City. Its character and prominence in the city has converted various times over its 80-plus years of being. It began as the state’s only grand theater in 1927 during a time of huge economic growth and prosperity for Sioux City. As hardship and the desire to build new rather than replace old hit the city in the 1960s and again in the early 1980s, the Orpheum’s prominence in Sioux City culture and commerce waned dramatically when it was turned into a crude split-screen movie theater and finally closed in the early 1990s. The patterns of urban growth and decay have had a large impact on the fate of the theater, making the history of the Orpheum Theater an insight into the history of Sioux City.
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The arts were important to the Sioux City area since its founding. Before the Orpheum Theater was built on Pierce street in the 1920’s, there were two other prominent music halls in the downtown area. The Academy of Music was the first concert hall and was built in 1870 on Fourth Street be...

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...cts. Armour & Co., a meat packing company, and the completion of a bridge between Sioux City and Nebraska, helped the city recover financially and stabilize the economy and allow for a huge influx of immigrants into the 1920s (The History of Sioux City). In response to the economic recovery nationally, there was a great “Orpheum boom” across the country as places to perform the popular vaudeville acts and new “moving picture” shows (Poole). Rapp & Rapp out of Chicago were the leaders in designing Orpheum Theaters across the nation, designing theaters such as the Oriental Theater in Chicago, IL, the Paramount Theater in New York City, and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (Sorensen and Chicoine). As the previous two concert halls in Sioux City had been closed, Sioux City jumped on the Orpheum bandwagon and had Rapp & Rapp design their own to be built on Pierce Street.
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