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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sonora in Tuolumne County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Sonora Opera Hall

 
 
Sonora Opera Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
1. Sonora Opera Hall Marker
Inscription. James Divoll and Joseph Bray, owners of the Bonanza mine constructed the Star Flouring Mills on this site in 1879. In August 1885 the mill burned, leaving the stone and brick walls. From the ruins they built the Opera Hall. The Hall was only active for about 10 years, hosting plays, patriotic events, fairs and exhibits. In 1896 Bray became the sole owner and converted the building into a carpenter shop. Joseph Francis and John Damas acquired the property in 1911 and opened the Opera Hall Garage, which operated until 1979. Francis bought out Damas in 1922. The City of Sonora acquired the property in 1986 and through state grants, redevelopment, and volunteer efforts was able to restore the building.
 
Erected 2006 by Grand Council, E Clampus Vitus.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 37° 58.905′ N, 120° 22.925′ W. Marker is in Sonora, California, in Tuolumne County. Marker is on South Washington Street (State Highway 49) south of West Church Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is mounted on a stone base to the left of the building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 250 South Washington Street, Sonora CA 95370, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Sonora Opera Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
2. Sonora Opera Hall Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sonora (within shouting distance of this marker); Sonora Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); First Two-Story House in Sonora (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Sonora Plaza Well (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sonora Inn (about 500 feet away); City Hotel (about 600 feet away); Sugg House (about 700 feet away); First Home of Wells Fargo & Company in Sonora (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sonora.
 
Regarding Sonora Opera Hall. It was constructed from the ruins of the Star Flouring Mill that was originally on the site. James Divoll and Joseph Bray who owned the Bonanza gold mine, which was located close to where Sonora High School is today, had built the mill in 1879. Some thought that gold from the Bonanza was stored at the flourmill until it could be transported by wagon to Stockton. In August 1885, some men broke into the flourmill, probably searching for gold. A fire was started which destroyed much of the flourmill. Jacob Bray, the night watchman, and Joseph’s brother were killed in the fire. Instead of rebuilding the flourmill, Divoll and Bray decided to use the remaining brick walls in the construction of the Opera Hall. On Christmas Eve 1885, a roller skating party was held as the
Sonora Opera Hall image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
3. Sonora Opera Hall
inaugural event. At that time roller-skating was very popular with adults and children. The City of Sonora acquired the building in 1985 and was able to restore it with grants from the State of California and donations from private individuals.
Source: Tuolumne County Historical Society - http://www.tchistory.org/TCHISTORY/Sonora.htm
 
Also see . . .  Welcome to Historic Sonora. During the Gold Rush era not only did Sonora have bordellos and bars...it also had culture. (Submitted on June 16, 2010.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicNotable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 16, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 963 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 16, 2010, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
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