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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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July 1911 advertisement in Telegraph-Herald
AIRDOME. Operated by Jake Rosenthal, who also managed the MAJESTIC THEATRE, the outdoor Airdome hosted stock companies who performed comedies, social plays, and westerns. Railroad cars of scenery were brought to town months ahead of the production. When the Airdome season began, two matinees would be presented at the Majestic and then the company, scenery and properties would be relocated for the evening outdoor performance. (1) The entertainment began with a performance of the ladies orchestra. Ice cream was sold by vendors along with peanuts and popcorn. (2)

I 1908 MOTION PICTURES and songs were presented between acts of the play. The decision on whether to invite the same cast back the next year was taken by a vote of those in attendance on the last night. (3) In August, 1908 the firm of Huntington & Scanlon was dissolved when Wright Huntington decided to take an offer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Harry Scanlon announced that he would form a partnership with John Alden Walker, a New York actor, and continue the business at least during September. The productions were carried out by regular actors Miss Louetta Babcock, the leading lady of the company; Jane Loras of Dubuque, second lead; John Alden Walker, leading man; Helen Davidge, character woman; Willird Geass, juveniles and heavies; and Herbert Haywood, character man. Other members were added according to play calls for them. (4)

In 1911 an article in the Telegraph-Herald announced that groceries and provisions including potatoes, flour, candy, cigars, cheese, crackers, brooms and sweeping compound, lemons, and supplies of popular well-known brands would be given to selected patrons every Saturday night. (5) In 1912 "premiums" given to selected patrons included a number of sets of Saxon China and game sets. (6)

A new "playhouse" for the open air productions were constructed in 1912. The occasion of a storm on July 9, 1912 did not hinder a performance as "the Airdome is protected well from storms." (7)

The 1909 Dubuque City Directory located this business at 8th and Clay.

The 1913 Dubuque and Dubuque County Directory stated that this business was located at 800 Clay.



1. "Assures Classy Shows at Park," Telegraph Herald, May 22, 1912, p. 3

2. "Airdome Throws Open Its Doors," Telegraph Herald, June 16, 1913, p. 3

3. "At the Airdome," Telegraph Herald, September 28, 1908, p. 14.

4. "Management of Airdome Changes," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 23, 1908, p. 13

5. "At the Airdome," Telegraph Herald, July 2, 1911, p. 2

6. "New Show at Airdome," Telegraph Herald, June 28, 1912, p. 2

7. "At the Airdome," Telegraph Herald, July 10, 1912, p. 3