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Grand Theater Fire Update

The Marie C. Dosch: A Courageous Musician article about the January 11, 1926 Grand Theatre fire was posted September 20. When the article was prepared, the Daviess County Museum did not have any photos of the Grand Theatre before it was gutted by fire or when it was named the Opera House.

After the article was posted, Dale Smith brought to the Museum a vintage picture postcard—postmarked January 1915—with a photo of the Opera House likely taken in 1914.

Opera House ca. 1914. It was renamed the Grand Theatre in 1917.

The postcard provides a lot of information about the Opera House/Grand Theatre. It was a three-story brick building with a sloping roof that angled dramatically to the south. The theater’s entrance and lobby were at 413 E. Main, but the rest of the first floor was rented to other businesses. Frank Trainor’s Barber Shop was at 415 E. Main (to the left of the theater’s entrance) and Paul Kennedy’s Cigars & News & Confection store was at 411 E. Main (on the right of the theater’s entrance).

The theater’s stage and movie screen were likely at the north end of the second floor where the roof height was the tallest. The projection room—where the fire started—was on the second floor, at the back, where the roof height was the shortest. The auditorium seating and pipe organ were also on the second floor. This means the capacity crowd and Marie Dosch had to get down a flight of stairs to escape the smoke-filled, burning building.

Thank you, Dale, for sharing this remarkable picture postcard.

Dale Smith is a volunteer at the Daviess County Museum. This update was compiled by Bruce Smith and Jeannie Eaton who are part of the Daviess County Historian Team.

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