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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Live at the Opera House

 
 
Live at the Opera House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. Live at the Opera House Marker
Inscription. Traveling road shows, vaudeville, dog-and-pony shows, mind readers, magicians, bell ringers and boxing matches-they all appeared live at Helena's Grand Opera House. In the days before radio, movies and television live entertainment was king.

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
View of the "Live at the Opera House Marker" along Court Square Park. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. View of the "Live at the Opera House Marker" along Court Square Park.
and other Opera House mainstays were on their way out, being slowly replaced by radio, motion pictures and other new forms of entertainment.

[Photo captions]
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, MusicEntertainmentNotable Buildings
 
Helena Opera House advertisement. image. Click for full size.
By Public Domain
3. Helena Opera House advertisement.
Two different Opera Houses?
 
 
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 65 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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