It was New Year’s Day and the year was 1866, the building was the grandiose Turner Opera House. William M and Joseph M Turner od West Carrolton built the oldest standing Theater still in existence in Dayton, Ohio. The theater cost 225,000 dollars when first opened. The Turner Opera House on 138 North Main St. caught the attention of Daytonians and the rest of the country. The Victoria Theater has definitely had its ups and downs and trials and tribulations over the last 146 years. Having survived floods, fires and tragedies the Victoria Theater is still standing and is a prominent historical building in Dayton, Ohio.
Fire Struck the Turner Opera House. Arson was suspected of having caused an all-consuming fire May 16, 1869, which destroyed the Theatre at a loss of 500,000(Wikipedia). The theater was not the only building damaged by this fire. The fire damaged some of the surrounding buildings. The fire of 1869 was one of the worst fires Dayton has ever seen. The original five story building was reduced to three after it was damaged by fire in 1869(Oldest Theater). The job of rebuilding took two years and it reopened on 1871 as the Music Hall (Lois).
Over the course of 146 years the Victoria Theater as it is known as today has had many different names. Rebuilt in 1871 as Music Hall, by 1885 it had become known as the Grand Opera House (Watson). It later became the Victoria Opera House, and was renamed the Victoria Theatre in 1901 (Watson). In the year 1919 it was re-opened as the Victory theatre after yet another fire struck. “The Victory Theatre”- a name commemorating the American war effort and its result (Wikipedia). The building was sold to the Arts Center foundation in 1990. For the last time the Theater changes its name to what it is currently called today, the Victoria.
A flood in the nineteenth century was something Daytonians knew oh so well. During the nineteenth century, ten large floods were recorded with the one in 1805 being the largest. The 1805 flood doesn’t compare to the flood that occurred in 1913. The flood damaged the booming city in its peak. On the morning of March 25, 1913, the rivers gorged with waters from and unprecedented series of rains (1913). The Victoria Theater was damaged but with the hard work of Daytonians it was quickly repaired.
The Victoria Theater has showcased some of our countries most popular plays and performers. The Victoria started out housing road companies until they lost their popularity in the late 1920’s early 1930’s. In 1930 Victory Theatre became a movie house. The opening attraction of the theater as a full time movie house, in November of 1930, was “Sunny”. With the popular musical comedy star Marilyn Miller (Victory Theatre). Marilyn Miller was only one of the many talented actors that graced the Victoria Stage. Performances by Al Jolson, The Marx Brothers, Helen Hales, Fannie Brice and George Cohan and many more made this theatre the place to be. For many years, the house was...