Grand Opera House, Dayton, OH
The Victoria, one of the oldest continually operated theaters on the continent, was opened to the public as the Turner Opera House on New Year's Day, 1866, at a cost of $225,000. Its initial offering was the James Sheridan Knowles drama "Virginius, starring Edwin Forrest – a play strongly associated with the famous actor. According to press clippings of that era, the theater was referred to as "the best [sic] theater west of Philadelphia". General admission was $1. The best seats in the house were between $10 and $12. The theater's presence in Dayton even inspired the publishing of a musical march by Edward Spoth entitled "Turner's Opera House March".
Arson was suspected of having caused an all-consuming fire May 16, 1869, which destroyed the theater at a loss of $500,000, of which insurance covered only $128,000.
In 1871, the edifice was re-opened – its rebuilding based, in part, on a portion of the surviving facade, although built to three stories instead of six. The opera house resumed operations as "The Music Hall". It in 1885 it became "The Grand Opera House". On September 18, 1899, it became the "Victoria Opera House", and in 1903, it became the Victoria Theatre, two years after the death of Queen Victoria of England.
December 30, 1884
Image: "Victoria Theatre (Dayton)" by MarkDonna at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Victoria_Theatre_(Dayton).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Victoria_Theatre_(Dayton).jpg