The Opera House
The Opera House built in 1876 was used as the community social recreational
center for about 50 years. It was built and owned by Elihu Chipman and M. M. Lee., later owned solely by Elihu Chipman until
he died in 1902. It was then sold at auction to Willis Humphrey, who (a week later) sold it to John Furniss who passed it
on to his son, Clair. It was situated west of the alley back of the old Laundromat (currently the south/east corner
of the Hasting City Bank parking lot). There was a stage with dressing rooms underneath and a balcony in the back. It was
heated by two wood burning stoves, one in a corner by the stage and one in the opposite corner by the balcony. It was torn
down in the middle 1930's.
It was the only building in Nashville where you could have any kind of entertainment. Traveling
shows such as Uncle Tom's Cabin, East Lynn, etc., played there. The players stayed at the Wolcott House. Medicine Shows visited town sometimes.
Many school programs, High School graduation, Alumni Banquets were held in the Opera House. Once a year the Woman's Literary
Club had a big party entertaining their husbands at the Opera House. Wedding receptions and many banquets were held there.
The first movies in Nashville were shown in the Opera House. It had a beautiful hardwood floor and many dances and dancing parties where held
there. In fact, for may years it was also used as a roller skating rink. The chairs could very conveniently be stored in the
balcony. Many old Nashville High School
graduates can remember playing basketball in the Opera House. Until the new high school addition was built, it was the only
place in town to play basketball.
It was said that there was hardly a night that there wasn't
something held at the Opera House. In fact, it helped Nashville get groups together that wouldn't otherwise have gotten together.
It was a good
place to go and have a lot of fun. People behaved and there was no rough stuff. It was truly a community center.