Monday, October 17, 2011

Rich Hill's historic Opera House (Wagon Wheels)may 31,1979

Part 2 by Mary Griffin
During the time that Sanderson and Lashbrook owned the Opera House, it was first managed by Jake Goldenburg and later by Newman Gassam.The Gassam Home was a large house on the Northwest corner of second and Myrtle Streets.
Mr. E.W. Heims became the next owner and Mr. Alva Gordon father of Mr.W.W.(Cory)Gordon and Marshall Gordon,became the manger.Alva Gordon and Frank Isley had a picture show .I have been told there were two other picture theaters in town,the Happy Gem and Spraker's .This was in the early days of motion picture industry, and Rich Hill was providing the latest in entertainment for the citizens.
In 1920 Mr. H.M. Booth,owner of a Funeral home and livery Stable, bought the Opera House.Bill Long and Otis Baker,both mail carriers operated the projector. In a short time the building was destroyed by fire.The grocery store of Albert Christman and Henry Porter's restaurant were completely destroyed. The fire threatened to destroyed the whole block,but the efficiency of the fire department confined the fire to the building.
When Remodeling,the top story was taken off and the ground floor was completely remodeled decorated and converted into a modern,up to-date picture theater, but retained the name Opera House.This was the day of silent pictures and Opal Jones Newton played the piano always varying the tempo of the music with the action of the show.During the late 1920's when talking pictures were introduced,the Booth Theater was one of the best in this part of the country.The Sound effects were good and the projection on the screen was excellent.