Opera House

104 W. South Street,
Arcanum, OH 45304

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Additional Info

Firms: Williams, Otter & Dexter.

Functions: Office Space, Storage

Styles: Romanesque Revival

Nearby Theaters

Opera House

Arcanum’s city hall, built in 1889, included an opera house on the second floor. The structure was rather ambitious for a town that was then just over 1,100 people, and initially featured a tower 100 feet tall. The auditorium was a generous space for a smaller town, although no balcony is shown on the plans.

The stage and scenery were located at the rear, over the space used by the fire department. As with most small towns, ‘opera’ really meant lectures, graduations, traveling shows, etc.

The first movies were shown as early as 1899, and although insurance maps make no mention of movies, the Opera House was listed in directories in 1914-15 and 1926.

While the 1926 map does show the Opera House, by 1951 the space is shown as ‘Club Rooms’, and the tower has been chopped down to its present stump. In August 2022 it in the process of being restored, although the ground floor is still city offices.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

SethG on April 17, 2021 at 10:47 am

1905 Cahn Guide gives the capacity as 600, manager C.O. Shuler.

ArcanumOperaHouse on August 29, 2022 at 11:24 am

The opera house does include a balcony (eyebrow windows are at floor level of it). There were two towers, the front was 100 ft and was used as a fire watch. The 2nd tower was along the east side of the building and was 60 feet, I think. It was used to hang the fire hoses to dry and had the fire bell (the bell sits in front of the current fire house on Main St). The Arcanum Opera House is currently being restored by Arcanum Preservation Society. It will then be turned back over to the Village and Township who have owned it since it was built to be used as an event venue for the community. Shows and movies were played in the Opera House until the 20’s. In the 30’s the auditorium was renovated to become first an American Legion, then the VFW Post and finally the Lion’s Club’s meeting room before being used as storage. Arcanum Preservation Society would be interested in seeing the plans you mention in your post as no one has been able to locate the blueprints or any original photos ().

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.