Monday, December 6, 2010

1877 Lovely Opera House

About the time the Spencer block was partially completed in the summer of 1877, discussion was starting on a new “block” to be constructed on North Grand Avenue, north of the Palmerton block.

Mr. Geo. Lovely has part of the material on the ground for a new block on Grand avenue, just north of the one now owned by him, formerly known as the Williams block.

The new block in process of erection by Geo. Lovely on Grand avenue, is to be 30x80, two stories high. The second story will be fitted up for a public hall.

The new building in process of construction on Grand avenue by Geo. Lovely, it is claimed will contain the finest public hall between Lansing and Detroit. It is to be 30 feet wide by 80 deep, of good height with an arched ceiling, and when completed, will contain a good stage and scenery. It will be provided with two means of exit, and every precaution will be taken to guard against any means whereby accidents may happen. The hall has not been named yet, but two good names have been mentioned, viz.: ‘Lovely’s Opera House,’ and 'The Academy of Music.'

As had previously been predicted, the banquet given by the ladies of the village at Lovely’s Opera House on Friday evening last was the biggest thing of the season. It is estimated that between eight and ten hundred took supper. The provisions were ample and none went away hungry. We have no doubt but what the singing and speaking was good but the room being simply lathed and no pains being taken to preserve order as a result persons a little distance from the stage could hear but little that was said.

Very quickly, events were scheduled and performed at the opera house. Following are some of the first performance articles found in the local newspaper:

The genuine and original Will L. Smith’s Swiss Bell Ringers and Comic Concert Company is booked for Lovely’s Opera House next Monday evening.

A grand musical entertainment for the benefit of the Fowlerville Cornet Band is under consideration by some who are interested in the welfare of our band, to take place at Lovely’s Opera House sometime in September. The idea is an excellent one and the project should be heartily supported by all, the ‘the boys’ have been very liberal in dispensing their music and this occasion will give the citizens an opportunity to show their appreciation.

The Detroit Opera House Company will play ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ at Lovely’s Opera House on Monday evening next for the benefit of the Cornet Band.

On Friday evening last, Prof. Hinchey held forth at Lovely’s Opera House to a large and appreciative audience. To be short, the Professor stands equal with any magician in the profession. He holds his audience in continual amazement and amusement. The only thing objectionable in his performance is that he is too profane in his speeches to surt the general class.

Lovely’s new Opera House has received the finishing touches. The building is 32x90 feet, two stories high, the second story proper forming the hall. This has a nice high ceiling and is well ventilated, lighted and provided with two large stairways. The architect and carpenter work of the building was superintened by M. F.J. Harmon and is well and substantially done. The painting and graining outside and in was done by the Treadwell Bros. and is done as good as it can be done by anybody. The interior of the hall is grained in oak and maple with black-walnut trimmings making a very neat, showy appearance. In the rear of the hall is a stage 26 feet deep with a 20-foot perscenium, provided with four scenes and a drop curtain, which have been placed in the hall within the last week and are the work of W.C. Pope. The scenery is an excellent piece of work and is the biggest addition Mr. Lovely could have made. As above stated, the scenes are four in number consisting of a street scene, a parlor scene, a kitchen scene and a wood scene, while the drop curtain is a handsome landscape. Much credit is due Mr. Lovely in his persistent efforts to furnish Fowlerville with such an excellent public hall, which the people thus far seem to appreciate.

As will be seen from bills already in circulation, Messrs. Lumbard & Lowry’s Star combination are to give another of their excellent entertainments at Lovely’s Opera House on Tuesday evening next. It isn’t necessary for us to say anything in praise of this troupe as they have appeared here once before since their reorganization and who is there in Livingston county that doesn’t know Frank Lumbard? And don’t know that he is already able to give the best satisfaction as far as his part of the programme is concerned? But Mr. Lowry is comparatively a stranger to the people of this state but is fast coming into notoriety as second to no comedian that travels. Jim Fields is good but will never be able to take the belt away from Lowry as long as the latter is able to stand up and recite his composition ‘Unto a Hoss.’

We expect to see the Opera House holding the largest audience on Tuesday evening next that it has held since its completion.As the months went along, more entertainment was presented to the villagers at Lovely’s Opera House.

Late in 1877, The Reason House has changed hands, Mr. Geo. Lovely having purchased the interest of Messrs. Gardner & Son. Entertainment continued at the opera house, but, A new ordinance over the passage of which there has been so much gossip of late appears elsewhere in this issue. As amended and re-enacted, it becomes necessary for all entertainments, whether of local or foreign origin, and in whatever interests held, whether for charitable benefits or individual profits, to pay a license fee of from $1 to $10. This of course will include Sabbath/School concerts, church fairs, school and temperance exhibitions, etc.

After a few more events such as shown in the following article, Mr. Geo. Lovely has sold the Opera House block to W.A. Miller to which location Mrs. Miller will soon remove her millinery and dressmaking establishment.

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