The Hibbing High School auditorium has been one of the town’s most recognizable features. Seating 1805 people, it has hosted numerous famous guests, including the Boston Pops Orchestra and John F Kennedy . It is also rumored to be haunted by ghosts.
Although the exact date of its construction is unknown, it is estimated that construction began in 1922. It was designed to look like the Capitol Theater in New York, which had previously been destroyed in a fire. The total cost for the school’s construction was $3.9 million, and the auditorium compromised a hefty portion of that sum .
The Hibbing High School auditorium is known for its elegant design. The 40 by 60 foot stage is framed by a 20 by 40 foot proscenium arch, which is bordered by large pillars. The “fly” area that holds the stage’s backdrops rises 90 feet above the stage floor. In the past, there were 45 backdrops, most of which were installed and executed specifically for this auditorium by the Twin City Scenic Company. Most of these are still used today to transform into 4 interior settings, a palace, garden, or a woods. To the right of the stage are 9 single dressing rooms and a manager’s office . One of the most famous aspects of the auditorium is the 4 crystal chandeliers. They were installed in 1924 at $4000 dollars each, and measure 7 feet across. Each chandelier is held in place by a one quarter inch steel cable that is connected to a 500 pound gear-locked winch that is able to lower the chandeliers to be cleaned. The glass crystals were manufactured in Czechoslovakia by a plant that was destroyed during World War II, which means that the crystals can never be replaced . Today, due to insurance costs, the chandeliers are estimated to be worth $400,000 dollars total . Another feature of the auditorium is the Barton Pipe Organ. It was made in Germany and only 1 of 3 constructed , 2 of which are in the United States. It was purchased from the Chicago Vaudeville Theater in 1920 for $26,000 . There are around 2,000 pipes on the organ, ranging from half an inch to 26 feet tall, each being made of stainless steel and wood . It can produce nearly any musical instrument except for the violin . Events still take place in this auditorium, and it is the pride of the community. Everyone can appreciate its meticulous beauty and design, and it will be appreciated for years to come.
1 Bergen, Dan. Hibbing High School. Hibbing: Manney’s Shopper, Inc, 2001.
2 Interview with Bob Kearney. 7 Dec 2010.
3 Bergen. Hibbing High School.
4 Bergen. Hibbing High School.
5 Interview with Bob Kearney.
6 Interview with Bob Kearney.
7 Bergen. Hibbing High School.
8 Interview with Bob Kearney.
9 Bergen. Hibbing High School.