Dreamland Theatre

530 Main Street,
Dubuque, IA 52001

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 27, 2023 at 8:51 pm

This item from Moving Picture World of January 22, 1916 came up faster at Google than I’d expected: “J. E. Boyle, owner of Dreamland theater in Dubuque, has taken a lease on a building at Fifth and Main streets which will be remodeled into a modern photoplay house.” That must have been the building at 506 into which the Dreamland moved. Unfortunately nothing revealing the exact date of the move comes up, but unless MPW was very late publishing the news about the lease, or Mr. Boyle suffered substantial delays in developing his project, the deed must have been done pretty early in 1916.

What else did come up at Google was several issues of MPW from 1910 that mentioned the Dreamland, starting with the issue of October 8, in which the Dreamland’s Peerless electric piano was offered for sale at $150.00. Later, ads for mirror screens in the December 3 and 10 issues listed the Dreamland among the house at which the devices had been installed.

The first Dreamland was listed at 530 Main Street in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory. The second Dreamland was mentioned in the trade journals frequently, and both houses had been owned by J. E. Boyle, according to his obituary from the April 7, 1923 issue of Exhibitors Herald:

“J. E. Boyle, Exhibitor At Dubuque, Iowa, Dies

“(Special to Exhibitors Herald)

“DUBUQUE, IA., March 27.—J. E. Boyle, owner and manager of the Dreamland and Liberty theatres in this city, died at his home following a prolonged illness.

“Mr. Boyle came to Dubuque in 1909 and opened the Dreamland. He has been prominent in the activities of the city and was a member of a number of lodges.”

SethG on September 27, 2023 at 2:43 pm

There were two Dreamlands, the second became the Palace. From 1909 to 1915, the Dreamland was at 530 Main. This was the southern half of an old brick two-story commercial building constructed sometime before 1884. Starting in 1916, the Dreamland moved to 506 Main, a three-story stone fronted brick commercial building on the corner with 5th St, likewise constructed before 1884. The Sanborn map from February 1909 shows 530 as a store, and 506 as a saloon.

Both buildings remain on the 1950 map, but the entire block has been destroyed for a cheap and depressing box containing offices. This listing should be split. As it is, the address used was never the Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 25, 2023 at 7:09 pm

The Dreamland Theatre at Dubuque is mentioned in the May 24, 1913 issue of Moving Picture World.