Few People Realize Amount of Development Work and Building Progess in City

Alliance’s “Boom” Period, 1910-1920

An article in the June 30, 1915 Alliance Daily Review highlights many major building projects during the 1910s that helped to spur the development of the city. These include:

  • Housing: bungalows, Geiger housing on Arch Avenue extension, rentals in demand
  • Business: Koch block on Main Street, garages on Prospect Street
  • Municipal: City Hall, Market House, City Hospital, Post Office
  • Masonic Temple
  • Real Estate: Development in the south and west areas of considerable magnitude
  • West Park grading and laying out of streets on the Baugh farm
  • Walter Ellett opening and improving Overlook Road from Union to Rockhill
  • Geiger Brothers grading southeast Alliance
  • Consolidated Realty installed street lighting on Parkway Boulevard and opened up Parkway onto Main Street
  • “Only a short time until Parkway will be opened for travel from Main Street to State Street”
  • Glamorgan Street opened from Rockhill Avenue to Sawburg Road, opening up a large new territory for settlement.
  • Arch Avenue subway under construction in 1915. “Will open up a new avenue of travel through to Main Street and opportunities to developing the north end of town.
Caskey Motor Inn

Pancho’s Corner

When Don Pancho’s Restaurant and Motor Inn was located on the southwest corner of Main Street and Union Avenue it occupied a building that was built ca. 1940. Originally it was occupied by Buckeye Amusement Company and then a series of Buick dealerships from 1948 to 1966. In 1968 it became the Caskey Motor Inn and later the Alliance Motor Inn. Don Pancho’s took occupancy in approximately 1986 and stayed there until 1997. It was demolished in February 1996 for the building of a Rite Aid Drug Store.

See more information about Don Pancho’s restaurant in “Local Restauranteur ‘Pancho’ DeLeon Dies,” The Alliance Review, August 19, 2008, A1, A3.

The Opera House

Crew's Opera House
Crew’s Opera House

Alliance once had a fabulous opera house at the northeast corner of E. Main Street and N. Seneca Avenue. Many have seen pictures of the building in ruins, but few have seen a photograph of the building in all its glory.

Emmor Crew built the Opera House during 1867-1868 at a cost of $75,000. The bricks were made from clay taken from the lakes of Glamorgan. It was 80′ tall x 80′ wide x 80′ deep. Stores and businesses were located on the first and second floors while the actual theater was located on the third and fourth floors. Seating for 1,000 people was available and it was the site of high school graduations as well as speeches by visiting politicians and various musical performances.

Marchand's Opera House in ruins
Marchand’s Opera House in ruins

Crew sold the building to C. E. Marchand (T. R. Morgan’s business partner) in 1877 for $9,000. The Opera House was fraught with difficulties through the years but the worst happened on June 2, 1886. J. F. Weybrecht had inspected the building that morning and was to begin repairs on it the next day. Marchand’s son was in his office on the second floor when he noticed the ceiling cracking. The twelve people who were in the building were immediately evacuated and none were killed as first the southeast corner and then the south and east walls caved in on the structure. It appeared that the bricks that had been used had not been properly cured and had caused the collapse of the once massive and splendid building.

The Alliance City Band

Alliance_City_Band_with_poodle_on_bass_drum

In 1859, the four Haines brothers plus six other young musicians banded together to form the city’s first marching musical unit. The first memorable activity of the band prior to the Civil War, was a brief concert at the railway station in February, 1861, when Lincoln passed through Alliance on his way to Washington to be inaugurated. The Civil War brought a period of inactivity with the loss of four of its members to the army. At the close of the war, however, the band was reorganized in 1866, with Columbus Haines again assuming the Directorship. After several years, the band lapsed into inactivity again, this time for about twenty years. Members came out only at Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations. In the late 1880’s, Chalmers Hudson, Harry Shaffer, Sym Donaldson, and Billy Shoemaker reorganized a group of twelve musicians and assumed the name of the Alliance City Band. Included were some of the members of the original unit, that group formed the nucleus of the Alliance City Band which has been a continous active organization since that time. In the early days of 1906, the band underwent a complete change, bringing in new methods and talent. Frank P. Atherton, then in charge of the theatre orchestra, was asked to wield the baton.and the band with a roster of thirty men rapidly began earning a reputation for itself throughout the state.

Very little is recorded for the next decade until Emil Rinkendorf of Canton was asked to direct the group in 1917. Thus began a golden era of musical presentations. During World War I, the band played for Liberty Loan Drives and served as a great morale booster at weekly band concerts during the summer months. Under Rinkendorf’s direction, the band played for many years at the Canton fair grounds and accompanied Knights Templar and Elk delegations, playing in such cities as Wheeling, East Liverpool, Cincinnati, Cedar Point Columbiana, Congress Lake and Cleveland. A winter concert was usually held at the Columbia Theatre or the High School auditorium. Rinky, as he was affectionately known, was a nationally known musician and at one time was invited to become director of the United 8tates Marine Band. His excellent work attracted attention among Alliance Talent until in 1938, the band boasted a roster of fifty members. The great musical career ended February 26, 1940, only one day after the Alliance City Band played its winter concert in his dedication. (from Alliance Memory)