Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe Opera House
February 4th, 1882. Curtains open for the first time on a performance of ‘Edgewood Folks,' a comedy written by J. E. Brown. The much desired 'Mauch Chunk Opera House' opened with a full audience, and would remain that way for quite sometime. Becoming a hot spot for the old Vaudeville Circuit, it is said "The Opera House was of ample size, appropriately and elegantly finished and furnished, and possessed the important requisite of excellent acoustic properties.” This encouraged famous acts of the time, like John Phillips Sousa and Al Jolsen, to grace the opera regularly.
In 1927, the building underwent renovations, and reopened as the Capitol Theatre. Now a cinema theater, it again had a successful run until 1959, when lack of business forced it to shut its doors once more. The old theater was later purchased by the Berkeley Bags Company. A handbag manufacturer, which used the theater as a warehouse. After this period, the building yet again became vacant, and neglected for many years. It wasn't until 1979 when the Mauch Chunk Historical Society bought the Opera House, and brought life back to the stage. You can now again enjoy performances of all kinds. But, the story does not end there.
No opera house is complete without its very own phantom. Accounts of ghostly footsteps and sounds come from backstage, as well as many performers feeling a strange presence around them. Perhaps even in death the show must go on.
-GhastlyG :January 2008