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Gallup in McKinley County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Kitchen's Opera House

Scenic Byways Trail

 
 
Kitchen's Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 15, 2021
1. Kitchen's Opera House Marker
Inscription.  

218½ West Historic Highway 66 (circa 1895)
One of Gallup's oldest standing buildings housed activities for nearly one-half a century modeling a significant course for early development of this railroad and mining opportunity.

Kitchen's Opera House, a two story building located at 218½ West Historic Highway 66 was built in 1895 by Pat Kennedy and Pete Kitchen. The second story framed a large stage and grand saloon that was the setting for numerous plays, musicals, church functions, political events, elegant balls, and in later years, serving as the prominent location for sporting events.

As the history of Italian opera has it, wealthy people in Italy would fund extravagant operas combining drama, music, dance and performances held in most extravagant Italian Opera houses. Unlike the classic opera houses of Italy, western opera houses were generally theaters where local mining communities adopted the "Opera House" name for its association with sophistication, social culture and success. Access to a variety of traveling entertainers was easily obtainable due to the railroad running through Gallup.

Kitchen's
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Opera House would serve many a more vital purpose to the local community than just theatrical entertainment. In 1901 the first Gallup High School graduation ceremony was conducted at the opera house - in 1904 the Democratic convention was held and in 1911 Mr. Kitchen would take advantage of the moving pictures by constructing a roller rink with a moving picture machine to one side.

By 1911, competition from nearby entertainment facilities changed focus of the Opera House operations. Boxing by both local fighters and out of towners alike would be the new "headline act" at Kitchen's Opera House for the next three decades.

In 1933 the opera house would serve as the meeting place for the United Miner's Union resulting in the strike of 1933 which lead to martial law in Gallup.

Finally, the Opera House bar would operate through two world wars and two prohibitions and the Café would unite a multi-cultural community where non-citizens of Japanese origin would survive war time hardship through the support and financial assistance of other races in the community. While the second story is no longer utilized, the street level continues to operate with commercial activity from Zimmerman's and the Eagle Café.
 
Erected by Federal Highway Administration (America's Byways) and the City of Gallup.
 
Topics and series. This
Kitchen's Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Adam Margolis, May 26, 2024
2. Kitchen's Opera House Marker
historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentIndustry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1895.
 
Location. 35° 31.736′ N, 108° 44.459′ W. Marker is in Gallup, New Mexico, in McKinley County. Marker can be reached from New Mexico Route 118 east of South 1st Street. Marker is in a city parking lot with seven other markers. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 US Rte 66, Gallup NM 87301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Buildings (here, next to this marker); Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial (a few steps from this marker); Gallup's Brief History (a few steps from this marker); CN Cotton Warehouse (a few steps from this marker); Main Street USA (within shouting distance of this marker); Navajo Code Talkers (within shouting distance of this marker); Balloon Rally (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Coal Car (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gallup.
 
Kitchen's Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 15, 2021
3. Kitchen's Opera House Marker
Marker (closest to the front) is in a city parking lot.
Kitchen's Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Adam Margolis, May 26, 2024
4. Kitchen's Opera House Marker
The marker is the third from the right.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 28, 2024. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 551 times since then and 207 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on October 20, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.   2. submitted on June 27, 2024, by Adam Margolis of Mission Viejo, California.   3. submitted on October 21, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.   4. submitted on June 27, 2024, by Adam Margolis of Mission Viejo, California.

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Jul. 19, 2024