Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
Live at the Opera House
Seating for 1,000 on Three Levels
Constructed in 1887, Helena's Grand Opera House seated about 1,000 people. There were five dressing rooms on each side of the stage and an orchestra pit in front. The main seats on the floor rose toward the entrance.
Above the main floor, surrounding the stage, stood the balcony and a third tier called the buzzards' roost. The upper deck wrapped around the stage, giving the audience an excellent view of the performers. Music teachers and a print shop occupied the storefronts near the main entrance.
Forty Years of Show and Events
The Grand Opera House was Helena's entertainment center for nearly 40 years. People came to see live acts, theatrical productions of all kinds, to cheer at boxing bouts, and to hear politicians give speeches. It came to a violent end when a fire tore through the building in the early morning hours of December 18, 1926.
The blaze gutted the newly renovated building. The fire ended an era in Helena. The owners decided not to rebuild. Live shows, vaudeville
Top left: Helena's Grand Opera House
Middle bottom: American humorist Will Rogers, one of the best-known celebrities of the era, and the Al. G. Field Greater Minstrels were two of the national acts that took the stage in Helena.
Location. 34° 31.69′ N, 90° 35.219′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on Porter Street west of Cherry Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in Court Square Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: Porter Street, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Comes to Arkansas (a few steps from this marker); Seven Confederate Generals (a few steps from this marker); The Right to Vote (a few steps from this marker); Answering a Call for Help (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "We shall never be the same" (about 300 feet away); Helena, Arkansas (about 300 feet away); West Helena, Arkansas (about 300 feet away); Phillips County, Arkansas (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 89 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.