Izard, at the City Hotel, a small frame building, at the northwest corner of Harney and Eleventh streets, the site now being occupied by a large brick block erected by the late
[The Grand Opera House is comparatively a new enterprise. Its management recognized the fact that Omaha needed more than one first-class place of amusement and was quick to seize the opportunity of supplying the want. That no mistake of judgment was made has been evinced from the first. It is one of six houses composing a circuit managed by Mr. L. M. Crawford. Mr. Crawford is seconded by J. D. Jones, who is assistant manager of the entire circuit and resident manager of the Grand. The other places represented are Atchison, Leavenworth, Topeka, Wichita and Newton, Kansas. This syndicate arrangement works peculiar advant-
GRAND OPERA HOUSE.
ages both to companies and to the management. The Grand is a remarkable building. As at present constituted, it is an architectural triumph. It was remodeled out of the Exposition building with most gratifying results. It is the largest ground floor hall in the West, the seating capacity, 2,486, being easily increased by the use of chairs. The acoustic properties are faultless. The heating is all by steam, and while this obviates much of the usual danger from fire, the numerous exits make anything like a panic impossible. There are no stairs to the main floor. The doors are wide and swing outward. The room could be emptied in a few moments, though densely packed. The stage is much larger than usual, being 56x120 feet. It is thus particularly adapted to use by large troupes, or to such exhibitions as given there by Gilmore's band, and spectacular events. All modern improvements have been introduced. There are twenty sets of scenery, all adapted to current drama and all new. There are numerous dressing rooms and all conveniences for the actors. There are eight tier loges around the balcony and eight ground floor boxes, but every seat in the house is a good one. The fact that the capacity of the ground floor is the greatest of that of any theatre in America is worth mention. In addition to the theatrical features the Exposition hall must be considered. Its seating capacity is 1900. It is suitable for conventions and kindred gatherings. It is also equipped with a stage ample for smaller companies or for amateur performances and for concerts. The Grand is particularly easy to reach. At the corner of Fifteenth street and Capitol avenue, with the main entrance on Fifteenth, it is passed by street cars from all parts of the city and also by the cars of the new Motor line. The entrance to the Exposition hall is on Fourteenth street. Like the Grand, this hall is free from all danger by fire and is in popular favor. It is safe, convenient and comfortable. The management of the Grand has made, from the start, an endeavor to present the best of attractions and has been markedly successful. Nothing is admitted to the house which would not be welcomed in the most exclusive opera house in the land. Mr. Crawford has been remarkably successful in all his theatrical ventures and has had large experience. This new theater is owned by the old Exposition stockholders, and is under the supervision and control of a directory composed of some of the leading citizens of this city.]
Ezra Millard. This was the first and only executive ball ever given in Omaha, and it was a great social event in those days. The room in which the dance took place was unfinished. Rough cotton-wood benches were used as seats, and everything else corresponded.
MENDELSOHN & LAWRIE, ARCHITECTS.
The music was furnished by a solitary
fiddler. Altogether, it was a very primitive affair. The
following description of the executive ball is from the pen
of Dr. Miller:
One of the most sensational incidents of
the early days was the killing of George Hollister by Dr.
Charles A. Henry. The two men became involved in a dispute
at Bellevue about a boundary line between two tracts of
land, and the result was that Henry shot Hollister. This
occurred April 20, 1855. Henry was arrested and brought to
Omaha, where he was imprisoned with shackles and handcuffs
in Sheriff Peterson's house. By the
order of Judge Ferguson the prisoner was chained to the floor. The United States grand jury, the first one in the Territory and specially called for this case, failed to indict Henry, but Judge Ferguson re-committed the prisoner and ordered a new jury. About this time Dr. Miller was called upon to accompany a flotilla of steamboats up the Missouri river with a large number of soldiers for Fort Pierre, among whom the cholera had broken out. During Dr. Miller's absence, Dr. Henry was the only physician in Omaha, and he was
© 1999, 2000, 2001 for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller