Holland Opera House

808-812 S. Main Street,
Hopkinsville, KY 42240

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Functions: Retail

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According to the local historical museum, this opera house opened September 19, 1882. It was owned by R.H. ‘Uncle Dick’ Holland. It was a three story brick building with a deep stage and balcony. The ground floor was divided into two storefronts by a central stair.

The opera house showed the first movies in town in 1905. It had ceased operations by about 1916, and the 1923 map seems to show the upper stories as vacant, but still bears the name of the business.

The 1905 Cahn guide renders it as Holland’s Opera House (all the maps have Holland), and gives the capacity as 800. Prices were 25 cents to $1 (or $7.50 to $30 in today’s money).

The front of the building still exists, but has been completely butchered by horrible remodeling. It seems to be used for retail, and the upper stories are likely vacant.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 28, 2021 at 4:32 am

The Opera House at Hopkinsville was listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, with the cryptic notation “Box 280.” A mailing address, perhaps?

According to a history of Kentucky published in 1922, R. H. Holland retired in 1916 and ceased renting the Opera House for performances. It doesn’t say why. He still owned the place in 1922.

SethG on July 28, 2021 at 5:05 am

I assume Box 280 was a PO box where they got their mail. I’d assume that like all of these ‘opera’ houses, once movies took hold, there was less of a market for travelling shows, and having a school graduation or political meeting a few times a year wouldn’t pay the bills. Most seem to have closed right around World War I. Fire codes also got a lot less friendly to upstairs auditoriums, although you do see second story theaters hang on until the ‘50s occasionally.

SethG on July 28, 2021 at 12:10 pm

At some point after the mid 1950s, the top story was hacked off. The auditorium, or much of it, was demolished in 1974.

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