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.

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