Grand Opera House in Wheeling
Built on the site of the original Washington Hall, a second Washington Hall, which also housed the Grand Opera House (sometimes referred to as the Grand Theater) was built in 1877 after the first Washington Hall was destroyed by fire on November 30, 1875. The new structure was "rebuilt in a completely different configuration, with a prominent angled entrance on the street corner, and finished in a florid Ruskinian, or High Victorian, Gothic style." The Grand Opening of the new Washington Hall took place on February 5, 1878, celebrated with a revival redition of the play "Uncle Tom's Cabin" within the new Opera Hall.
After being purchased by the German Bank of Wheeling in late 1898, an extensive remodel of this second structure, designed by Wheeling architect Frederick Faris, was completed in 1911. "Faris emphasized the angled corner entrance, but otherwise completely altered the building into one of Wheeling's most accomplished and individualistic classical essays. He treated the first two floors architecturally as a single vertical unit, terminating them with an entablature that acts as a belt course for the four stories above. The bays of the upper stories are divided by rudimentary pilasters with rococo, Corinthian-esque capitals that support a heavy entablature and solid, paneled balustrade."
The building served as the headquarters of the Wheeling Masons and the Ancient Order of United Workermen in Wheeling.
This structure still stands today and is known as the Laconia Building.
▶ NE corner of Market and 12th Streets (Later became the German Bank of Wheeling, now known as the Laconia Building)
Materials in the Library:
▶ Vertical File: Grand Opera House, Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk.