Myers Rebuilt
ŠTed Schaar 2016

No insurance

Earlier, the 1889 article reports:  "Mr. Myers was a peculiar man, in that he preferred to carry his own fire risks and spent no money on fire insurance on any of his property.  This line of policy has been followed by his heirs since his death, consequently there was no insurance on the property."

Either the theater was profitable, the family had funds aplenty, or both because it was rebuilt not quite two years later. N
ow called the Myers Grand Opera House, it opened for business on Wednesday evening, January 14, 1891. 

"A Dream In Old Ivory"

A page-four story in the Gazette that day titled “A Dream In Old Ivory” included:

"Representatives of the press viewed the opera house in its completed form...

“The house will accommodate nearly 1200.  The seats have been so placed, moreover, that each commands a perfect view of the stage, and are divided as follows:

“Orchestra, 280.  Orchestra circle, 250.  Balcony, 320, Boxes 21, Gallery, 500..."25

Oddly, the numbers listed add up to 1,371.

In addition to this," the article continues, "there is standing room for at least four hundred.” 26

(I attended many movies at the Myers and don’t see how it could have had standing room for 400; other remodelings took place, however, including ones in 1929 and 1939 and it's possible changes were made that eliminated standing room.)

”The main auditorium is in the Louis XV character of ornamentation in soft shades of light antique maroon for the lower portion of the house, terminating in old rose
[dull pink] and cream at the ceiling.

"There are three vestibules, the style of ornamentation in all being of the Romanesque period, quite different from the main auditorium, the inner vestibule being shades of old blue and old Indian yellow, the second one in shades of terra cotta, and the other one in shades of olive yellow.

"This work was executed by the firm of Mitchell & Halbach of Chicago, the most prominent decorators in the country, and who have decorated during the past five years 70 of the most important and handsomest theaters in this country—in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities."

Architect Oscar Cobb

On January 15, 1891, an unnamed reporter who attended Myers' opening night gave impressions and mentioned Architect Oscar Cobb of Chicago:

“Into a place of beauty eight hundred people made their way last evening.  Massive doors swung open before them, their feet pressed soft carpet and before their eyes were the soft colors and the bright lights of the new Myers Opera House…

“…The house is modeled after one which Mr. Cobb visited while in Paris last summer.  The gallery starts at the proscenium arch on each side and extends along both sides and across the back of the auditorium. 

“Balcony and gallery are entirely separate, and the sharp pitch given to the balcony makes the rear seats as desirable as those at the front…

A brief history of the building of the house was given by Architect Cobb last evening…”

Cobb was born March 12, 1842, in  Aroostook County, Maine, which is in the northernmost part of the state

Myers Architect Oscar Cobb
"Myers Opera House" is mentioned in a listing of
work associated with the above etching.

Myers grand opening 1891
Myers Grand Opera House 1907
The Myers Grand sign and facade in the above cropped image is from a 1907 postcard of West Milwaukee Street in Janesville, Wisconsin. This is the front
of what I believe was the Myers Grand Opera House; it is the only view of
 the 1891 theater I have encountered.   Click for the complete image, which shows the
Hotel London across the street.  Postcard purchased on ebay; produced by (exactly as the credit appears on the back of the card):
"The Rotograph Co., N.Y., City. (Germany.)."



First Myers and Fire



5. Myers Gallery