Relive 90 years of opera house history at 1002 Main
Who says you can’t turn back time? At “History of the Opera House” mural, time rewinds. The mural tells the story of Goodland’s Grand Opera House and its tenants. Stroll through 90 years of history. The east end starts with Hodgkinson’s Merchantile from 1906 and runs through Q’s Pool Hall in 1996.
Leg shows and election returns
The Grand Opera House stood 50X100 feet on the street and nearly three stories high. The first floor held businesses and the upper floors were the opera house. Opera House patrons arrived via a double stairway, one side for upstairs and the other for downstairs. The opera house featured a large stage, dressing rooms, U-shaped balcony with box, main floor (parquet) seating and a box office.
The opera house held its grand opening Dec. 10, 1906, with a performance of “The Nature’s Nobleman”. First night prices were expensive: $3 for a box seat; $2 for a parquet; $1 for gallery. Once a “leg show” featuring 110 dancing girls was held here. The most famous person to perform in the opera house was Milburn Stone, who later played “Doc” in the long-running TV Western Gunsmoke. Politicians came to speak and Goodland citizens gathered to learn the election returns. Local returns were written on a large blackboard and national results arrived via a special telegraph service. Radio’s advent made the gatherings obsolete.