Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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

PART 3 of the Opera House History By Mary Griffin
During the depression years the show was in operation nightly.Every Friday was family night when the whole family(going as a unit)was admitted for 10 cents each.
The Booth Theater or Opera House continued to serve the purpose for which it was originally built.
In the 1920's a dramatic production using local talent was presented.
The Opera House continued to be used for school and community programs until the gymnasium was built at the High School in 1938.
In addition to performances at the Opera House,Rich Hill also held a Fall Festival each year in October.This usually took place on the streets and in the parks.
Over a period of nearly one hundred years Rich Hill entertainment has changed with the times.For a number of years Thursday night was considered Band Concert night with the Rich Hill Band providing an evening's entertainment in the park. Friday night was Family night at the show.Saturday night everyone went to town to buy the weeks groceries,get a hair cut or take care of business maters.Family members not busy sat in their cars and watched or visited with friends who walk around the streets until nine or ten o'clock when the stores begun to close for the night.
We forget that we didn't always have paved streets downtown.Before the streets were paved there were board sidewalks crossing the street at intersections and other places.
There were hitching racks at the back of the stores where people who came to town in buggies, carriages,wagons or on horseback could tie the horse until time to go home.There was even a law stating how long a horse could be left tied without giving it food and water.Now we find there are no more stage shows at the Opera House and with the coming of television,the picture show has lost much of its appeal.Now Rich Hill,Like many other towns finds it difficult to support a movie theater.However,with an energy crunch,the local theater may once again become a popular form of entertainment.

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