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Elkhart in Elkhart County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Bucklen Opera House

1884 - 1986

 

—Elkhart, Heritage of the City With a Heart —

 
Bucklen Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, April 21, 2013
1. Bucklen Opera House Marker
Inscription.

Bucklen Opera House
1884 - 1986

Main and Harrison Streets
Commissioned by: Herbert E. Bucklen
Architect: Unknown
General Contractor: Unknown

The Bucklen Opera House, built in 1884 on the northwest corner of Main and Harrison streets, had a seating capacity of 1,200, and was the scene of many memorable events. In addition to featuring such famous stars as Houdini and singer Jenny Lind (the Swedish nightingale), the Opera House was frequently used by dramatic, vaudeville, and musical traveling groups as a last stop performance before opening in Chicago, giving Elkhartans "sneak previews". The great Creatore and John Philip Sousa brought their bands to perform here. High school graduation ceremonies were also held here for a number of years. The first motion picture in Elkhart was shown at the Bucklen in 1896, the admission charge being five cents for seats in the balcony and ten cents for seats on the main floor. The Opera House eventually became known as the Bucklen Theater, and was one of four movie theaters during the 1940's and 1950's. The last time a movie was shown at the Bucklen Theater was in the fall of 1956. Spacious second floor rooms housed a ballet school for many years. A large third floor room served as a rehearsal hall for the Elkhart Symphony Orchestra. After some alterations,
Bucklen Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, April 21, 2013
2. Bucklen Opera House Marker
At front of the site of the demolished building
various stores occupied what had been the seating area of the theater. Due to years of neglect and fears the building would collapse, the theater was demolished in 1986.

Source: Elkhart - a pictorial history - by George Riebs, 1990

Herbert E. Bucklen, an early Elkhart entrepreneur who made his money in patented medicines, built the Bucklen Opera House in 1884. Herbert continued to invest in real estate in Elkhart and Chicago, eventually moving to Chicago in 1885.

To the left is an engraving of the interior of the Opera House. The seating capacity was 1,200 with main floor and balcony. Over its lifetime it served as a vaudeville house, music hall and movie theater.
 
Location. 41° 40.929′ N, 85° 58.266′ W. Marker is in Elkhart, Indiana, in Elkhart County. Marker is at the intersection of S. Main St and Harrison St, on the right when traveling south on S. Main St. Click for map. Marker is at northwest corner of intersection. Marker is in this post office area: Elkhart IN 46516, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Charles Gordone (approx. 0.2 miles away); Elkhart High School (approx. ¼ mile away); Elkhart Carnegie Public Library (approx. ¼ mile away); Elkhart County Revolutionary Soldiers Memorial
Site of Bucklen Opera House image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, April 21, 2013
3. Site of Bucklen Opera House
At northwest corner of intersection of S. Main St and Harrison St
(approx. ¼ mile away); E. Hill Turnock (approx. ¼ mile away); Dr. Franklin L. Miles (approx. 0.3 miles away); C.G. Conn Company (approx. half a mile away); The Rivers for Industry (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elkhart.
 
Categories. EntertainmentNotable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 309 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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