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Quincy Square Museum
East Main Street
Earlville, New York
Early Opera House
THE FIRST OPERA HOUSE BUILDING
With the building of a new Methodist Church [after the fire of 1886], the Baptist congregation thought their old
church needed replacing also. Plans were made and soon their existing building was offered for sale and was to be
moved to a new location.
With the availability of this building Mr. Douglass had an idea and our story began for Earlville in 1887 when he
made an opera house out of this old building, which had been purchased for $300. An empty lot on Canal Street (now
East Main street) was available and the building was moved to that site where it was rededicated as the Earlville Opera
FIRST CORNER BUILDING OF N L DOUGLASS
After this reconstruction the buildings that made up the opera house complex—the Douglass Block, the Cushman
and Brainard Block, the Opera House Block and the Opera House Annex all operated as one single unit and have done
so ever since. As Garda Parker wrote and I quote her, "It was possible for villagers to meet most of their needs within
this complex from the moment of birth (doctor's offices, drug stores), through a life span (insurance companies,
grocers, general merchants, jewelers, furniture makers, builders and contractors, harness makers, lawyers, banks, the
Earlville Standard newspaper and the opera house), to death (undertakers and caskets)." Doesn't this sound like
today's shopping mall?
ELECTRIC LIGHTS 1906
...it was the Earlville Opera House that was chosen to be the first building to be brightened by these new electric
lights as it could accompany the largest group of people at one time. Before this time it was lit by gas lights - thus the
term 'gas light review' came into being. The first night there was entertainment here using the new lights a fuse blew
somewhere and the house has the first Earlville blackout.
THE STORY OF THE
EARLVILLE OPERA HOUSE
BY SHERBURNE TOWN HISTORIAN
ROSE L WELLMAN
Book available for purchase at the Quincy Square Museum.
See Contact pages for author information