Opera House

124 E. 2nd Street,
Laurel, NE 68745

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Additional Info

Functions: Opera House, Retail

Nearby Theaters

No theaters found within 30 miles

The first theatre lasted only a month but its venue was a familiar one in downtown: the city’s Opera House. With Oak Street nearly filled to capacity, buildings began spreading along 2nd Street. The city’s first brick building was on 2nd Street and featured retailers on the first floor and an opera house on the second floor.

The Opera House primarily hosted live events. But experiments with motion pictures with the assistance for generators - the town had no electricity until 1916 - proved popular. So popular were motion pictures that Jasper Knight began regular screenings on the Opera House’s second floor beginning in 1912. While 1912 would indicate an era in which people might drive cars to the theatre in addition to walking, horse and carriage were still in wide use in the gaslight town of Laurel.

The experiment of a movie theatre at the Opera House failed within a month. But in November of 1912, the second theatre in town opened on the same side of the block when the Star Theatre operated from 1912 to 1919. In 1916, the theatre got electricity along with the I.O.O.F. lodge bringing a second movie theatre in the renamed Laurel Auditorium. That theatre also failed but then relaunched successfully under new owners for almost two two decades. It can be found as the Laurel Auditorium Theatre and its replacement, Laurel Theater, with separate pages on Cinema Treasures.

The Opera House still remains in the 2020/s in downtown Laurel but has been remodeled out of existence while the City Auditorium was also still in usage, as well.

Contributed by dallasmoviehteaters
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