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Chicago Opera House Block
Life Span: 1885-1912
Location: Southwest corner of W. Washington Ave. and N. Clark St.
Architect: Cobb and Frost
Chicago Tribune, December 28, 1884
By odds, the most important and extensive building scheme carried out during the yer in the centre of the city has been that by the Chicago Opera-House Company at the southeast corner of Clark and Washington streets. Where last April stood the old, tumble-down Exchange Building now towers high above all surrounding structures the Chicago-House Block, ten stories high, which when completed will represent an outlay of nearly $500,000. The first two stories are of iron and plate-glass, and the upper stories of Anderson brick, gracefully broken by brown-stone courses and arches. In the southwest corner of the building the theatre will be located. The office part of the structure will be ready for occupancy by May, and the theatre by September. Cobb & Frost are the architects, and Mr. W. D. Kerfoot is at the head of the syndicate which owns the building.
Chicago Opera House
Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1885
INSPECTING THE NEW OPERA-HOUSE.
Fire-Marshal Swenie, Assistant-Marshal Shay, Building-Inspector Kirkland, together with his assistant, Mr. William Edgar, made a formal inspection.
New York Times, August 16, 1885
Chicago’s New Playhouse.
Chicago.—The new Chicago Opera House, which will be opened to the public on Monday or Tuesday evenin next, is an exceptionally fine specimen of theatre construction and a notable addition to the list of Chicago playhouses. It is an opera house only in name, being intended mainly for theatrical performances and not likely to see much grand opera.1 The new theatre occupies the chief part of a substantial, plain brick building, ten stories high, situated on the southwest corner of Clark and Washington streets. Massive stone piers support the weight of the building between the foundation walls and give it a solidity which it is believed will prevent the slightest vibratio of the structure. The theatre rises to the height of six stories. Its seating capacity is 2,250, or about 200 greater than that of any other theatres in Chicago. The stage has a depth of 50 feet, the rigging loft is 70 feet high, and the curtain opening is 86 feet wide. The entrance is on Washington-street. Including the entrance, there are 12 exits from the theatre, one of them being the entrance on Clark-street to the office part of the building. The dressing rooms and work shops are all in the basement, and are commodious and well equipped. The boilers, engines, and electric light apparatus are all under the offices. In the construction of the building two objects have been sought.One was to make it an absolutely fireproof structure, and the other to give the sight and sound of the stage to every person in the theatre. In pursuance of the first object the building has been constructed almost entirely of brick, iron, tile, and stone. The partition walls and floors are of brick and cement, the beams of railroad iron, and the stairs, boxes, and galleries of iron. No wood has been used about the theatre, except for the floors, which are laid on cement, the fittings of the dressing rooms, and the stage. The building has been inspected by the municipal authorities and declared to be absolutely fireproof.
The second object, which has to do with the comfort and pleasure of the audience, has been attained by bringing the horseshoe-shaped galleries forward close to the stage, so ast the destroy the effect of distance, so fatal to comedy performances. To get an idea of the real proportions of the house one must stand on or near the stage and look upward. There are eight boxes on either side rising above each other in pairs. In the centre of the ceiling there is a space 24 feet square, filled with stained glass, behind which glow 200 electric lights. Rows of incandescent lamps will also be placed around the fronts of the balcomy and galleries. The system of ventilation is the same as that in use in the Madison-Square Theatre in New York.
The theatre is entered under an iron porticospanning the sidewalk on Washington-street. The gallery entrance is from the street a few feet west of the main entrance. The vestibule is finished in Georgia marble, plasterwork tracing, and papier-maché, decorated in metallic colors and Roman mosaic on a gold background. Mahogany doors open on either side of the elliptical shaped box office into the foyer. At the right of the foyer is a large retiring room, in one corner of which is a fireplace. This room is decorated in crimson and gold. The walls of the foyer are covered with gold and a delicate blue silk tapestry. Cream, crimson, gold, and silver are freely used in the decoration of this part of the house. The scheme of decoration is modern French, involving the use of the colors named, with gold predominating. The effect is lightness without glare. The entrance to the auditorium is draped in rich brown and crimson, and the floor of the auditorium is covered with a carpet of dark blue and brown. At the right and left of the entrance and within the auditorium are two broad iron staircases leading to the balcony. The hardness of their material has been overcome by treatment at the hands of the decorator and upholsterer, and this is true of all parts of the interior where iron has been used.
The chairs on the main floor are of hand-carved cherry upholstered in crimson. They are very comfortable and are noiseless in their movements. The aisles are unusually wide despite the great seating capacity of the house. The ceilings of the galleries are painted in gold and blue bronze. That of the theatre is decorated in gold bronzes, blues, and rich orange colors disposed in large heavy panels. The drapery of the iron boxes is in orange and blues.
Over the proscenium arch is a plaster bas-relief, about 45 feet long, representing Apollo and the Muses. There are 15 figures in the representation, the principal being 9 feet high. A crimson silk plush curtain opens from the center and discloses the drop curtain. The latter is a reproduction of Benjamin Constant’s “A Day after a Victory at the Alhambra,” which was exhibited at the Paris Salon a year ago. The foreground is occupied by figures set off, by Moorish architecture. The curtain was painted by Ernest Albert, who, with Mr. Noxon and Mr. Toomey, painted all the scenery in the house. Of the stage Henry Irving is reported to said when he saw the plans for it last Winter that it would be the most perfect in the country when completed. John W. Norton, of the Grand and Olympic Theatres, in St. Louis, will have the management of the business and David Henderson will be Director of the theatre. Mr. T. W. Keene will open the house.
Chicago Opera House Progamme
October 6, 1890
Inter Ocean, May 10, 1885
A Grand House-Warming.
Heretofore The Inter Ocean, writing from the architectural standpoint, has introduced to the stately new Chicago Opera House Building, lifting its ten stories heavenward t the southwest corner of Clark and Washington streets, by all odds the most notable building in thousands. This morning with equal pleasure a supplemental chapter is given, dedicated to the unexceptional and altogether select occupancy of the structure; in short a directory of the building with some wayside notes in celebration of last week’s grand house-warming. A vast bee-hive, that is the Chicago Opera House, and all the busier and more bustling and buzzing it seems for the swarming of the Board of Trade. Indeed, it appears literally true, as a poetical broker not far from Washington street said yesterday:
- The immense wave created by the plunge of the Board of Trade is washing all the professional men to the northward, and in the strong undertow a good many traders are swept back also.
Certainly the polite professions abound in Chicago Opera House Block, and as certainly a literary atmosphere calms and cools the furnace blasts of trade. Is not Cook County’s Court House just opposite, with the Law Institute’s Library of 17,000 volumes? Is not the Appellate Court with its 7,000 volumes domiciled in Chicago Opera House Block itself? and possessed furthermore of a noble literary re-enforcement in Starr & Enrich’s 1,200 choice legal volumes in their suite, No. 730, besides many another law library belonging to the present and prospective judges who multitudinously inhabit the pile? the whole presenting a congeries as the Public Library may be counted by a short anticipation as already lodged next door in its coming home, the old Chamber of Commerce, where it is really indispensable, don’t you see, to preserve the literary and scholastic traditions of that hall.
But our directory of clients.
Yes; here goes—from base to turret-stone—to lightning-rod’s high finial.
- The splendor falls on castle walls
And hoary towers old in story;
and let The Inter Ocean in its turn throw a little calcium light on the loftiest sky-scraper of all Chicago’s office buildings.
N.B.—Would others joint the happy family please apply to W. D. Kerfoot & Co., No. 90 Washington street, for some choice offerings, whether stores or offices, are still in sight.
And by the by, the Opera House proper will be forthwith made the handsomest theater in town, that Nationally known artist, Louis Tiffany, of New York, having just been appointed superintendent of interior decoration.
It will be an interesting announcement this morning, though the quarters were leased a long time since, that a branch office will be forthwith opened on the main floor of the Chicago Opera House Block by J. T. Lester & Co., the well-known stock brokers (members of the New York Stock Exchange) and grain commission merchants. No better evidence could be adduced that though the bulls and bears no longer gambol on Court House squqre it is not the be surrendered to the bats and owls, but will still have every accommodation as a financial and commercial center. The elegant quarters will be located on Washington street, just west of the theater entrance, and both in equipment and administration will be a duplicate in miniature of the firm’s main office in the Grand Pacific Hotel. There will be monthly sales of stocks and bonds, and here the firm’s customers can be accommodated with the same gossip and the same information and have every convenience the same as at the principal office, and the facilities thus afforded will unquestionably attract many new patrons, as well as be thoroughly appreciated by old ones. All the quotations will be received by ticker and posted on the blackboard, and a private wire and operator will communicate direct with New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington. The branch will be in command of George D. Field.
In the large and elegant corner office No. 104 Clark street, first floor, is located the city ticket and passenger office of the “Great Rock Island Route.” Mr. Geo. L. Rhodes, the city passenger agent, presiding over eight or ten clerks, like himself the embodiment of good looks and attention to customers. The furnishings are all mahogany, and the giant pillars—so handsomely are they treated—would seem introduced for ornament and to assist in receiving the many ladies as well as gentlemen who come here to buy tickets to all points in the great West.
W. H. Kaufman & Co., men’s furnishings, are now established at 108 Clark street, Chicago Opera House Block. A complete and choice stock (shirts made to order a specialty), prompt, experienced, and polite service, and prices satisfactory, can not but win and hold a widening patronage.
Just north of the elevator entrance at No. 112 South Clark street, Dickey & Moore opened yesterday one of the handsomest cigar stores in Chicago, no expense havig been spared to make it worthy the distinction of being the only smoking establishment in the building. The stock equipment is as perfect as the ornamental features, and the proprietors, H. M. Dickey and L. C. Moore, are experts of long experience and popularity in catering to the trade.
The only tailoring establishment in the great building is that of Selle & Ackerman, who occupy the elegantly lighted and convenient store 114 South Clark street. From personal knowledge, be it said, no tailors in town can do better work. Their long experience and reasonable charges warrant satisfaction, and the personal qualities of the gentlemen enhance the benefit of doing business with them. Give them a call.
“Gus, the Square Hatter“—yes, it is fortunately none other who has annexed the handsome store, No. 116 South Clark street, and opened it as his second and finest branch store in the South Side. This gives this well-known gentlemen not less than five establishments in Chicago, among which of course Nos. 197 and 199 West Madison as the parent store, with the twi North Side branches as elder children. Much prominence will be given at this Chicago Opera House store to the nobby silk hat that is so identified with the fame of “Gus” as leader of fashion.
Dr. Peiro has leased for ten years the second floor suite of spacious offices, directly adjoining the elevator landing, and here he will continue to make a specialty of lung troubles, and dispense the farfamed “oxygen treatment” with which his name is happily associated by so many relieved patients. The offices without question, when the decorators shall have finished their work, will be the handsomest not only in Chicago Opera House Block, but all Chicago. The ceilings present conventional flowers in high relief, gilded, and everywhere the prominent fresco artist, Fred Atwood, in producing effects as artistic as rich.
The Chicago Guaranty Fund Life Society occupies rooms 212 and 213, second floor, Washington street front. This society was incorporated on August last under the act of 1883, to furnish life insurance at cost on the mutual assessment plan. To make a payment of death losses certain it proposes to accumulate a fund to the limit of $1,000,000, which is pledged for this sole purpose. Assessments are made only after death has occurred, and then only in amount necessary to liquidate it. The entire expense of management is limited to $3 annually per $1,000, or less than 1/3 of 1 per cent. The membership is rapidly increasing, already including large numbers of the most prominent business men of the city and State. Only one death loss has been suffered up to the present date. The officers are Henry Booth, President; John R. Walsh, Vice President; A. C. Overall, Secretary; George Sherwood, Treasurer; C. C. Jiggins, Medical Director; John H. Oney, Manager of Agents.
J. B. Breese, loans and investment securities, occupies the central suite of offices, Nos. 306-307, third floor, off the elevator landing, having removed from No. 96 Washington street.
The Messrs. Peck—Walter L. Clarence I. and Ferd W.—owners of the ground on which the building stands, have a fine corner suite on the fourth floor.
The National Life Insurance Company of Vermont, its greatly incresed business in the West demanding larger quarters, has secured the spacious and elegant suite 410. Beginning business in 1848, the company is one of the oldest in the country, has more assets in proportion to liabilities than any competing Institution, and not one is more popular. Very conservative and purely mutual, it has paid large dividends annually. For twelve years Mr. John N. Hills, most genial pf genmtlemen, has been the general agent.
The Appellate Court, First District of Illinois (Cook County), presided over by judges Wilson, Bailey, and McAllister, is at home in the south wing of the fourth floor, No. 411 being the office of Clerk J. J. Healy.
Dr. P. C. Jensen occupies suite 508 as an office for general practice. His residence is the Palmer House.
M. J. Dunne, attorney and counselor, occupies suite 516, having removed from eleven years’ occupancy at 99
Drs. W. C. & G. C. Hunt occupy room 520, on the Clark and Washington street corner on the fifth floor, as their downtown office.
Suite 522, fifth floor, Chicago Opera House Block, is occupied as a general law office by William Vocke, attorney and counselor at law, who removes from 95-97 Washington street.
Joseph Cover, law and general short-hand reporter, formerly Congressional reporter for five years, and long experienced in law reporting, occupies room 517.
Allen’s City Dispatch (formerly Allen’s Circular Delivery), E. R. Allen, proprietor, occupies suite 503, and its system of distribution by reliable men only is most popular with the leading houses. Wrappers and envelopes addressed.
Le Grand Burton, attorney and counselor at law, has removed from Montauk Block to the suite 509-10-11, Chicago Opera House.
John N. Young, real estate and loans, a line of business with which has been influentially and honorably identified for years, is at home in room 514.
The suite of corner offices on the fifth floor, No. 518, commanding the finest view from the building, is occupied as his general law office by Mr. Louis Schissler, attorney.
Dr. F. Meier, Imperial German Vice Consul and acting Consul, has a handsome suite, 552, 554, and 556.
The largest suite in the building, entrance 504, comprising 502-4-6 and part of 8, is occupied by Weigley, Bulkley, and Gray, attorneys and counselors, who removed from Reaper Block. Their commercial practice is large, while their clientage covers all other branches of the law.
Smith & Burgett—U.P. Smith, A.P. Smith, J. M. H. Burgett—attorneys and counselors, occupy as their general law offices rooms 630 and 631, Chicago Opera House.
A. H. and J. L. Veeder, attorneys at law, occupy 617, 619, and 621 Opera House Block, having removed from Major Block. Charles Q. Albertson, attorney at law, also offices in suite 619.
Mr. U. P. Smith has made more extensive real-estate improvements the past year, probably, than any gentleman in Chicago. The handsome new houses that he has erected near the lake shore in the south-eastern section of the city can only be counted by scores, and the improvement is one of the most substantial in Chicago. These houses have filled a popular demand, and are bespoken oftentimes before completion. Still further building operations are designed by Mr. Smith.
E. W. Edwards, M.D., occupies a large suite of offices No. 110 South Clark street, corner of Washington, Opera House Building, having removed from No. 97 Madison street. Office hours, 10 to 1 and 2 to 7.
J. W. Rogers, dentist, has removed from 680 West Madison street to Room 811, Chicago Opera House, one of the lightest offices in the building,
Suite 630, Opera House Block, is occupied as a general and real estate law office by James M. Cleaver, attorney and counselor.
Suite 601, 603, 605, south wing of the sixth floor, is occupied by general law offices by R. R. Landis and John C. Richberg, lawyers.
The Commissioners of Lincoln Park are at home in Nos. 622-23, and a charming view they have both of the park they so admirably manage and the blue lake beyond. Secretary Taylor now has everything in apple-pie (why not custard?) order.
Adjoining, in Nos. 620-621, is the office of the board’s President, the Hon. F. H. Winston; also of his handsome young law partner, Mr. Rhodes.
The suite of sixth-floor offices, Nos. 606-608, Clark street front, are occupied as their general law quarters and for their thriving collection department by Beck & Roberts, attorney.
Eduard Jaeger, attorney and counselor, occupies suite No. 727, Chicago Opera House Building, as an office of general law practice.
Pettit, Briot & Co., the well-known short-hand reporters, occupy 726, and, with greatly increased facilities, are prepared to give entire satisfaction to their patrons.
Suite 722 is occupied by Galt & Birch—A. T. Galt and Hugh T. Birch—attorneys and counselors at law, recently of the Equitable Building.
The neat suite 730 is occupied by Starr & Ehlich, attorneys and counselors, from whose office will issue in two weeks the second volume of Starr & Curtiss’ “Annotated Statutes of Illinois,” and undoubtedly it will duplicate the popularity of the first volume.
The suite Nos. 719-21-23 is occupied as general law offices by Thomas H. Hood and Emery S. Walker, attorneys at law.
Watson & Perkins suite 720, street-pavers, layers of concrete pavements, and dealers in asphalt and Portland cement, have removed from Reaper Block, where they officed for nine years. Recent work of theirs is seen in the new Board of Trade Building, the new City Hall, and the County Building.
G. McPherson, prescription druggist, has in rooms 709-711 a well-ordered dispensary of standard quality, purity, and strength, and a great convenience and advantage it must prove both to the various physicians who office in the building and to the public at large, who can mount the elevator and land at the very door, where they can be well assured of a hearty Scotch welcome and entirely genuine goods from the canny, rare Caledonian in charge. Not a novice is Mr. George McPherson, but an experienced, skillful artist in the very fore front of his profession; for behold back in ’48 did not a potentate (Alexander McDougall, Esq.,) of Edinburg Royal Infirmary write:
- From the ample experience I have had of judging of Mr. McPherson’s professional qualifications and capabilities for business I can have no hesitation in recommending him in the strongest manner.
And again, such Chicago authorities as Drs. Henry M. Lyman, E. L. Holmes, C. W. Hempstead, Joseph P. Ross, E. W. Edwards, De Laskie Miller, E. Ingals have expressed themselves as knowing Mr. McPherson through many years “as a first-class druggist and a thoroughly reliable man” and as having “no hesitation is saying that from his character as a man and skill as a manufacturing chemist the fullest confidence may be placed in the quality of his preparations.” And to the same effect speaks the church, through the Rev. Professor Charles Elliott:
- The public may place the fullest confidence in this gentleman of unimpeachable integrity, in his intimate mastery of pharmacy, and in the quality of his preparations.
and so say “all of us” who have enjoyed the pleasure of Mr. McPherson’s acquaintance and the salutary, invigorating virtues of his preparations—especially his extract of malt in various combinations, pure, highly concentrated, and well made at low heat; sold direct to consumers at half the ordinary price.
Bangs & Kirkland—Mark Bangs and Joseph Kirkland—attorneys at law, occupy suite 830 as a general law office.
Architect H. D. Deam occupies rooms 825-29, removing from No. 94 Washington street.
A sunny and unusually attractive suite if rooms is Dr. Kennicot’s dental establishment Nos. 801 to 807 inclusive, at the southwest angle of the Chicago Opera House. This well-known gentleman is the nestor and leader of what may be called humane dentistry in the United States, having practiced forty-six years consecutively in this city, and can boast that he has never yet committed the cruel and absolutely unnecessary “mistake” of killing the nerve of a tooth. And a subject of congratulation it is, on humanitarian grounds, that teeth with exposed nerves can be filled and permanently preserved, absolutely without pain, by a simple and harmless method of treatment, as Dr. Kennicott has demonstrated in his daily practice for many years. It may also be pertinently remarked that never in his wide experience with chloroform and other anesthetics has the slightest accident darkened his office. We predict for him a still wider field of usefulness in the direction of his specialty of humane dentistry.
Iles & Davis, attorneys and counselors at law—R. S. Iles, H. A. Davis—are established at No. 814 Clark street front, the gentlemen having removed from Unity Building.
Paul Cornell, attorney-at-law, has removed to 812, where he will give attention to real estate and loans. Hyde Park and Grand Crossing property a specialty.
Greeley, Carlson & Co., city and county surveyors, officing in suite 884, will bring out in July and August respectively their standard and largely-awaited atlases of the territory north and south of Twelfth street.
Perry A. Hull, attorney and counselor at law, occupies suite 819-821 as a general law office.
Frank C. Smith, attorney and counselor, survives in then pleasant office suite No. 823 Chicago Opera House the tribulations of removal from No. 79 Dearborn street. We venture to add that he will also survive—and may it be to many, many years of added honors successfully achieved, even to the judicial ermine—this our further minute of what kind of a lawyer Mr. Smith is, simply premising that we look through the window-pane of cold fact and not the magnifying-glass of friendship, however based that is on sterling worth. From the day of his administration to the bar this young yet old-headed and true-blue lawyer has made his mark by successive and signal accomplishment along the line of devotion to his chosen work, his record showing an equal division between civil and criminal practice, and every case illustrating the marked trait of the man and the lawyer never to desert clients when once he had become interested in their suits. Naturally the result has been clients multiplied and retainers increasingly important. Thus it was Frank C. Smith who saved the neck of Joe Williams, the man who killed Giles Hunt and Minnie Brooks. It was he who cleared James Smith, charged with murder in the famous Yattaw case. It was he who defended successfully Louis Bachus, the father who avenged in the life blood of Theodore Lay the foul outrage on the 14-year-old daughter. But this is no eulogy; simply a happy time of day sincerely wished to this and all other ornaments of the Chicago bar; not excepting the extensive collection department under the vigorous and successful charge of Clement L. Eaton.
Cobb & Frost, architects, occupy suite No, 930.
G. W. Plummer, attorney at law, has taken possession of offices 901-3 Chicago Opera House, in the southwest corner of the building.
Dr. Mahlon Hutchinson has established his dermal institute in suite 910-12-14 Clark street front, where as a specialty he treats diseases of the skin.
The Hon. F. W. Parker, of the Legislature, occupies suite 1009 as a general and patent law office.
In rooms 1027-29-30-31, Abbott, Oliver & Showalter, also Edward Owings Towne, the lawyers, are at home.
The Chicago Sectional Electric Underground Company—Elisha Gray, President, and F. W. Cushing, Superintendent—evidently by the law of opposites, have located in the top floor suite 1020-22-24, and their elegant corner will command the heavens and the earth. Having now fully burrowed LaSalle street, the company will forthwith honeycomb Washington street, and intend the current year to underlay every block as far as Twelfth street with their admirable tunnels.
The Standard Guide to Chicago For the Year 1891, John J. Flinn
Located in the Chicago Opera House building, a magnificent structure, southwest corner of Clark and Washington streets, opposite the Court-house; close to the principal hotels and convenient to railroad depots and street car terminals. J. W. Norton & Co., proprietors; David Henderson, manager. This is one of the handsomest as well as one of the most popular theatres in the city. It is considered absolutely fire-proof, every precaution known in modern architecture having been taken to make it so. The theatre is built entirely independent of the main building, except so far as the entrance and exits are concerned.
The theatre has a seating capacity of about 2,300 The proscenium opening is thirty-six feet wide, and the height from stage to “gridiron” is seventy feet, making it one of the finest stages in the country for plays requiring machinery to produce spectacular effects. The main floor of the auditorium is constructed of fire-brick or tiling, supported upon arches covered with a solid bed of cement; all the galleries and boxes are constructed of iron and steel, and there is scarcely a piece of wood to be found in the entire interior. The dressing-rooms are below, and are large and comfortable. There are fourteen exits distributed over the house. The house is illuminated by electricity exclusively. Admission prices. 50c., 75c., $1.00 and $1.50, according to location. Boxes, $10, $12 and $15.
Rand McNally’s Bird’s Eye Views of Chicago, 1893
The Chicago Opera House Block
Is to be seen at the southwest corner of Clark and Washington streets. It was one of the first of the buildings erected on the joint-stock plan, and the success of its promoters led to the erection of the Auditorium. It fronts 187 feet on Clark and 107 feet on Washington, the regular theater entrance, with its handsome canopy, opening on the latter thoroughfare, and present- ing a fine illumination at night. The 10 stories are 130 feet high, and the unrelieved brick exterior gives to the edifice a plain appearance. Its 240 offices and 12 stores and its theater are the most popular places in the city, and its 4 elevators are constantly run at their full capacity. The main entrance of the office building is on Clark Street. Lawyers and professional men crowd the premises. The Appellate Court sits here. Erected in 1885.
Chicago Opera House Block
Rand McNally’s Bird’s Eye Views of Chicago
Chicago Opera House Entrance
Chicago Tribune, May 4, 1913
When the curtain descended last night at the Chicago Opera house it separated its patrons from twenty-eight years of Chicago life. With “Hamlet” it opened in 1885, and a graveyard of dead bricks and planks it will be tomorrow, when the wreckers let in daylight upon the stage where Thomas W. Keene soliloquized in the shadows, where Julia Marlowe lounged on the moonlit balcony, and where Helen Ware said the valedictory last night.
The management had a flashlight picture taken of the house as it looked in the last act of “The Escape.” With that it surrendered to the waiting skeleton of the Conway building, which ominously has grown alongside of the once palatial auditorium.
When the final curtain descended on “The Escape.” Paul Armstrong, the author, assumed the role of master of ceremonies. From the stage he introduced a number of artists who had appeared in the theater in its earlier days. They include Blanceh Ring, John Slaving, WilliamCollier, Blanche Ring, John Slavin, George Cohan, America Summerville, Edward McWade Sr., Frazer Coulter, and James H. Channon. Their appearance ended with the singing of “Auld Land Syne” and a deluge of confetti.
Many of the early employes of the theater were present in the audience and other spectators included the theater goers who had attended plays at the Chicago Opera house since it was opened.
At midnight a banquet was given at the Hotel LaSalle to George Kingsbury, manager of the theater. He was given a chest of silver. Lyman Glover was toastmaster and the speakers included Judge Marcus Kavanagh, Milton J. Foreman, Paul Armstrong, and Father M. J. Dorney.
The Chicago Opera house opened under the management of David Henderson, John W. Norton being the lessee. One or two of the men who then figured back of the curtain are left. One is John McCula, who is property man at McVicker’s. The other is W. J. Blackburn, an electrician living ay 8 West Delaware place, who last night begged the manager for the honor of “turning off the last light.”
Chicago Opera House Block
Robinson Fire Map
Chicago Opera House Block
Second Atlas of the City of Chicago
Chicago Opera House Block
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
1 While it is generally true that not much Grand Opera would be presented on this stage, the New York Metropolitan Opera-House Company did perform Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle during the week of April 22, 1889.
From 1887 to 1890, the Chicago Opera House served as the official observation location for recording the climate of the city of Chicago by the National Weather Service.