Description: Sewn into this quilt is one of the original silk programs from one of the finest theatres in Sioux City history: the Peavey Grand Opera House. In 1886 the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce wanted a grand theatre venue for the city, and began the long and arduous process of raising money. The key investors and head of the project were James F. Peavey, owner of the Sioux City Transit Company, and his brother Frank, a grain magnate, and their contributions gave the theatre its name. The theatre was built at 4th and Jones Street, and as this program illustrates, the premiere show was The Gypsy Baron by the Conried English Opera Company on September 24, 1888. Ticket prices for the 1700-seat Peavey Grand varied depended on station. The 50 to 75 cent “cheap seats” were located in the gallery, where ticket holders had to use a separate entrance and had no access to indoor plumbing. Choice seats on the floor were $1.50 (around $30 today), and the box seats on the side of the stage sold for $26 (nearly $700 today).
The Peavey Grand however was more than just a theatre and a great piece of architecture. The front of the building held offices for the Chamber of Commerce, banks, and other businesses. The opera house was the site of the first moving picture show in Sioux City in 1896. In 1891 the theatre could be converted into ballroom for social events, with the seating area converted into a wooden dance floor. In 1920 the theatre became the Grand Hotel, and by 1930 a service garage for automobiles was located on the stage. The building burned down in 1931, but the “Three Muses,” stone statues of the goddesses of art, music, and drama, were salvaged from the ruins. Today the Howard Johnson Hotel stands at the site of the old Peavey Grand.
Donor: Mae Neep