The St. Marys Opera House
Today’s painting features a heritage building, the St. Marys Opera House.
To be honest, prior to writing this blog post, I knew very little about the history of the building. My most vivid memory is from my own childhood, when I would buy candy and magazines from M&M Variety Store (I particularly loved Cat Fancy).
Having the chance to dig back in the history, here is what I learned:
Back in the 1870’s, the St. Mary’s chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (an altruistic & social fraternity) needed a new meeting place; and it was this need that resulted in the construction of the St. Mary’s Opera House, built in 1879-80. The final building was stunning, made of limestone in a Gothic Revival style.
After it’s construction, this was the “place to be” and supported a thriving social scene in St. Marys. The second floor housed a concert hall that put on a various performances including Shakespearean plays, musical comedies, political rallies, etc. The first floor was dedicated to stores while the third floor held a meeting room for the Odd Fellows.
Despite it’s initial success, by 1904, the Opera House faced financial problems. Ultimately is was sold first to Church and Watt ltd (a harness making company), and later to G. Carter and Son (a milling company). It remained a flour mill until 1973. It underwent restoration in 1987, and today the first floor is dedicated to stores/shops and the upper floors to apartments.
TRIVIA: How much did it cost to build the Opera House?
Comment below with your answer!
** answer will be included with tomorrows blog post.
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