Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Our Times: Changing Times Led to Closing of Grand Opera House, Part 2

In 1859, William Green built Green’s Hall, what would later be named the Grand Opera House, at Second and Busseron Streets. The three-story building, used mostly for stage productions, burned in 1885 but was immediately rebuilt. In 1896, it was purchased by John T. McJimsey, who undertook extensive remodeling and changed the name to McJimsey’s Theatre.

The venue continued to draw large crowds for all kinds of shows, be it comedy acts, dramas, concerts, and later films. One of the big stage shows at the start of the new century was “Alice of Old Vincennes,” starring Virginia Harned, which played there on Feb. 26, 1902.

In 1907, McJimsey sold a half interest in the theatre to local real estate man W. R. Crackel and the building again underwent renovations. From that time on, it was known as the Grand Opera House. The men even formed a corporation, selling shares in the Grand Opera House Company.