Palace Grand Theatre
Note: The Palace Grand Theatre is closed for extensive renovations. These renovations will ensure its structural integrity and enhance its capabilities as a performance venue. As this major project nears completion, the Palace Grand is expected to be re-opened in the summer of 2018.
Arizona Charlie Meadows built the Palace Grand in 1899, a lavish theatre in the wilderness, a showcase of vaudeville, Victorian melodramas and silent films. Re-join us in 2018 for tours of the “prettiest little theatre north of San Francisco”, or take part in an interactive show to vote on which of three infamous gold rush dreamers and schemers should be crowned "The Greatest Klondiker". The theatre also hosts live entertainment, music, drama, comedy and film featuring international performers and local talent. The Palace Grand is also a key venue during the annual Dawson City Music Festival.
The Palace Grand Theatre opened in gala style July 1899. The theatre was a combination of a luxurious European opera house and a boomtown dance hall. It was built by "Arizona Charlie Meadows", a wild west showman who came to Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. The Palace Grand played host to a variety of entertainment, from wild west shows to opera. When the show got slow "Arizona" himself would get on stage and perform shooting tricks for the audience.
With the gold strike in Nome, Alaska in the latter part of 1899, the excitement in Dawson City died as quickly as it rose. Over the next few years Dawson City made the transition from gold rush boomtown to a smaller mining community. With the steady decline in population, Arizona Charlie Meadows sold the Palace Grand Theatre in 1901 for $17,000, less than a third of the initial cost. After this first sale, the theatre changed hands a number of times over the years and often hosted community events.
The Palace Grand Theatre was saved from destruction by the Klondike Visitor's Association in 1959 and was donated to the National Historic Parks branch of the Canadian government, who began replication of the theatre in the early 1960's.