The Opera House

Opera HouseIn the days before television, radio, and movie theaters, people relied upon live state performances for their entertainment. Constructed in 1868 by Mr. Emor Crew, the Opera House was another of the buildings made of brick from the clay banks in what is now the front yard of Glamorgan Castle. It stood on the northeast corner of Main and Seneca Streets. Alliance families climbed to the third floor of the building to see the plays that were presented. Businesses occupied the storefronts on the first floor, and offices filled the second story.

Unfortunately, the building had some serious structural faults. When Mr. Charles Marchand purchased it in 1877 he made extensive repairs, but the building was still not considered to be absolutely sound.

About 4:30 on the afternoon of June 2, 1886, disaster struck. The east wall of the Opera House cracked, the north wall gave way, and the roof collapsed. Fortunately, the people inside the building realized what was happening, and everyone escaped safely. In spite of the fact that he was over 70 years of age, Mr. Harvey Laughlin who had been mayor of the city three terms, managed to rush from his second floor law office and make it safely to the street as the bricks tumbled down around him.

The building immediately to the east of the Opera House was also demolished in the collapse. Most of the merchandise in the main floor stores was lost, and several railroad cars on the tracks in back were severely damaged.

Mr. Marchand had the west half of the structure rebuilt, and it continued to be used for stores and offices. In 1971, while workmen were remodeling part of the building, another collapse occurred. Once again everyone inside got out safely, but the remaining parts of the original second story had to be torn down. Now it is no longer recognizable as Alliance's once famous Opera House.