B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

Toledo, OH

December 15, 1884 Opera House

In its pioneer decades, Toledo was, not surprisingly, a theatrical backwater. It was not until 1850 that Toledo built a public hall suitable for stage performances and was quickly disappointed to learn that the great singer, Jenny Lind would not travel to Toledo, even for the vast sum of $1,000 a night. By the Civil War Toledo boasted three theaters (Morris Hall, Stickney Hall, and White's Hall).
Except for White's Hall, which for a few years in the early 1870s pulled in expensive name acts, none of these were particularly reputable. Stickney Hall was renamed the "Opera House" after the war and included a free drink with the price of admission. By 1875 White's had gone to vaudeville to compete with two new theaters, the Wheeler's Opera House and the Adelphi. However, even the city's workers' growing appetite for regular, inexpensive, ribald fare could not support them all. By the 1890s only Wheeler's and the new People's Theater were still in operation.
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