The Grand Opera House


By 1884 the growing city of Caldwell was interested in promoting the finer cultural aspects of life and plans were made to construct a new Grand Opera House. During that year an opulent three story brick structure was erected on this site. It was the pride of Caldwell and its size and elegance were unmatched anywhere in the Southwest. It was erected at a cost of $20,000, seated about 1200 people and contained a roller skating rink in the basement. The dedication was held on the evening of January 12, 1885 and was followed by the opening performance of "The Mascotte" presented by the Fay Templeton Comic Opera Company.

Over the years it became the hub of the Caldwell social scene and was used for such events as graduation ceremonies as well as being visited by the major theatrical troupes of the day, such as the Boston Opera Company.

On February 19, 1918, the Grand Opera House was destroyed in a spectacular fire. While nearby businesses were saved, the Opera House was a total loss along with 25 trained dogs which were kennelled in the basement and a number of Home Guard rifles which added to the flames. Plans were immediately begun to build again on the old site, but never came to fruition.

Erected 1993 by donations from Damon and Patricia Weber and the Caldwell Cherokee Strip Centennial Committee

Sumner
Sumner
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Historical marker in downtown Caldwell
Sumner County
 

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August 29, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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