KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

A Look Back At 100 Years Of The Orpheum

Bookmark and Share

 A staple for the performing arts in downtown Sioux Falls is celebrating a monumental birthday. 100 years ago this week, the Orpheum theater was first opened to the public.

KDLT's Phil McIlrath gives us a look back on the last century for this iconic theater house.

The year was1913, Sioux Falls is a little more than 50 years old, and a brand new venue for entertainment is open for business on Phillips Avenue.

At the cost of just over $62,000 dollars to build, construction on the new Orpheum theater is complete and seats are ready to be filled.

"The night of the opening was a pretty grand affair,"said Rick Huffman. "It was a big dress up affair and tickets were like the unheard of price of $5 dollars."

The Orpheum was designed to give the best possible view from any spot in the house whether you were seated in the main floor, balcony or two boxes.

Big entertainment in the early part of the 20th century was primarily vaudeville and in this genre the Orpheum excelled.

"They even had railroad spurs that pulled up behind the building so they could unload their props and costumes and even animals," said Huffman.

Over the last century the Orpheum has seen its share of talent come from behind this red curtain. From local actors, to vaudeville and even Hollywood, this stage has been their temple.

Notable local actors included Alba Alney, Everitt Mento and Edna Torrence. More famous names include the likes of Jack Benney and Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy.

In 1927, the Orpheum was sold to a company in Minnesota, which converted it into a movie house, where it would show second run and B-movies. It quickly became known as a place to see a flick for cheap, a popular place for kids.

"Being able to come down on a Saturday morning for a nickel and watch two or three movies throughout the day and get out from under mom and dad's feet,"said Huffman.

In the fifties, the theater changed hands again and live theater was once again center stage.

In 1963, a relatively unknown actress at the time stepped on stage...only to become a household name only a few years later.

"The actress was Anne B. Davis who...this was 1963..about 5 years later would become Alice on the Brady Bunch. It's had it's share of big names here,"said Huffman.

Through the years many renovations have been added including storage and dressing rooms.

But the theater itself has its own form of star power. The hand painted murals, originally installed when the theater was opened are still a big draw to patrons.

'The big centerpiece is in good shape as you look at it now compared to what the side murals used to look like it has a lot of brightness to it,"said Huffman.

Surviving the test of time by keeping up with it.

"The place has survived just due to a lot of love and sweat and tears over the years to keep it a part of our downtown,"said Huffman. "I don't see why it can't last another 100 years."

< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >

Hoven Students Begin Classes In Former Hospital

Students in the northern South Dakota town of Hoven who lost their school to a ...

Faulkton To Be Honorary SD Capital For A Day

Gov. Dennis Daugaard's office has chosen the city of Faulkton to serve as South Dakota's ...

USD Using Drone To Capture Images For Marketing

The University of South Dakota is taking to the air to ...

Portion Of Downtown SF Building Collapses  Aug. 27

ESPN: "First Four" Could Come To SF  story with video  Aug. 26

Joan Jett To Break-In PREMIER Center  Aug. 26

An Injured Bicyclist's Road To Recovery  story with video  Aug. 26

Lyon Park Renovations Relieve Safety Concerns  story with video  Aug. 26

BPI Beef Plant Reopens  story with video  Aug. 26

Britton Man Dies In Cement Truck Crash  Aug. 26

Democrats Asking For Testimony On EB-5  story with video  Aug. 26

Bigger Planes To Fly To SD During Hunting Season  Aug. 26

2 Injured In Car Vs. Bus Accident Near Inwood  Aug. 26

Young Pheasant Tally Shows Birds To Increase  Aug. 26

Pierre Asks Judge To Dismiss Stun Gun Lawsuit  Aug. 26

Democrats Asking 4 Men To Testify About EB-5  Aug. 26

Homebuyer Workshop To Help New Homebuyers  story with video  Aug. 26

No Bond Reduction For Rapid City Murder Suspect  Aug. 26

Pro-Marijuana Group Planning State Fair Protest  Aug. 26

$10K In Damage Still Halting Housing Project   story with video  Aug. 25

KDLT News Archive

Britton Man Dies In Cement Truck Crash

A Britton man died after the cement truck he was driving flipped ...

Joan Jett To Break-In PREMIER Center

Jason Aldean is no longer the opening act for the ...

2 Injured In Car Vs. Bus Accident Near Inwood

Two people were injured in a car vs. school bus accident ...

An Injured Bicyclist's Road To Recovery  story with video  Aug. 26

Pro-Marijuana Group Planning State Fair Protest  Aug. 26

Portion Of Downtown SF Building Collapses  Aug. 27

ESPN: "First Four" Could Come To SF  story with video  Aug. 26

Democrats Asking 4 Men To Testify About EB-5  Aug. 26

KDLT News Archive

Birds dominated by Bisenius  story with video

The Canaries started their final home series by being dominated by the Lincoln Saltdogs ...

Garretson shuts out SFC girls in soccer  story with video

Mara VanDeberg scored the only goal of the game on a breakaway as Garretson beat SF ...

Warriors lose VB opener  story with video

Rochelle Ramharter had 13 kills bu the Washington Warriors dropped their season opener ...

Cassel excited to start for Vikings  story with video  Aug. 26

Joe Glenn excited for game at Oregon  story with video  Aug. 26

Kaufman in great position after big weekend in Canada  story with video  Aug. 26

Roosevelt Tabs Buus To Replace Taylor  story with video  Aug. 25

SOFTBALL-Roosevelt Sweeps Brookings, O'Gorman & Mitchell Split  story with video  Aug. 25

KDLT Sports Stories
Back To Top