Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sandusky Theatre

In the picture above, three individuals can be seen painting a sign and the building of the Sandusky Theatre, about 1930. The Sandusky Theatre had a long, rich history according to an article by John Himmelein in the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register-Star-News from November 24, 1947. The theater was built in 1877 by Andrew Biemiller. It was first known as the Biemiller Opera House, located at southwest corner of Water & Jackson Streets on property that had originally been owned by William T. Townsend.

Biemiller’s Opera House accommodated 1,500 persons, and featured cushioned seats and excellent acoustics. The cost of the original building was $48,000. The spacious stage was sixty-six feet wide and thirty-three feet deep. The first opera to play at Biemiller’s Opera House was Wagner’s “Lohengrin.” In May of 1895, the building was purchased by Carl Neilsen. Mr. Nielsen remodeled the Opera House and changed its name to the Neilsen Opera House.

John A. Himmelein acquired the building in 1902. Again, the theater was remodeled. Mr. Himmelein stated that several types of amusements were performed here, including opera, dramatic, musical, minstrel, vaudeville, and plays by stock companies. The first attraction after the remodeling project was the play “York State Folks,” which opened on September 7, 1905. Between 1905 and 1907, the building was known as the Grand Opera House. By 1908, the name was changed to the Sandusky Theatre, after the building was leased to O.S. Hathaway. The Seitz Amusement Company leased the building in 1936 to show motion pictures, bought it in 1950, and sold it four years later. The building was razed in 1955.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to see a variety of programs from performances at this former Sandusky landmark.

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