King Opera House

Much has been written lately about the King Opera House because of the extensive renovation the building will undergo beginning around Sept. 1. But Monroe County Historical Society Secretary Jan Crall did some yeoman’s work researching the building’s history and published it in this month’s Historical Society newsletter.

Did you know, for instance that the 1903 building was built by Dr. Sylvester King who invited local businessmen to invest $4,000 in the $20,000 building and 50 participated?

Or that the building wasn’t started until early in 1903, but was completed for a grand opening on May 5, 1903.

Did you know that it was originally planned to seat 800 people with up to 1,000 squeezing in the opera house and that Dr. King proposed the stage be big enough to hold “horses, cattle and threshing machines” if necessary for productions.

The premier performance on May 5, 1903 was “Olivette,” and tickets were sold at a princely sum of $2.50 to help retire the debt on the theater.

Mrs. Nellie Alford bought the opera house in 1919 and on Jan. 16, 1921 (a Sunday), a fire destroyed the building. The structure was restored and reopened on Nov. 17, 1921.

Read the entire history in this month’s newsletter or visit the museum on Restoration Days this Saturday.

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