1201 McKibben Street
City Directories and History: Newberry Opera House
Located on a lot where John Leavell, among others, operated a tavern in the town’s earlier years, the ca. 1881 Newberry Opera House became a popular cultural center from the time of its dedication in 1882. Presented at the opera house were stage dramas, operas and operettas, minstrel shows,
musical comedies and similar attractions which toured the country and were major features of the town’s cultural and social life. With the advent of movies, and the building of larger auditoriums in the city, the Opera House was used exclusively as a movie theater. The Newberry Opera House building is Romanesque Revival in design, with a tall steeple and a wide gable on the front side. Its bricks were handmade in Newberry. The parkade is sloping. The balcony is wide and also sloping. The building was, “in all likelihood, designed out of a pattern book, and shows the influence of Philadelphia architect Frank Furness.” Located on Newberry’s central square, the old building was the hub of cultural and civic activities for many years. Listed in the National Register December 2, 1969. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
“The Newberry Board of Trade, under President John O. Peoples, is doing excellent work for the advancement of the business interests of the city. The men who do business in Newberry are: W.E. Pelham, druggist and pharmacist; W.H. Harris, groceries; J.S. Russell, general merchandise; B.H. Cline, groceries; M. Foot, Jr. & Co., general merchandise and furniture; B.H. Lovelace, groceries and confectionery; J.W. Fant, saloon and restaurant; J. Mittelle, groceries and confectionery; Gary, Cook & Carwile, dry goods and notions; Wooten & McWhirter, dry goods and furniture; Minter & Jamieson, dry goods and furniture; J.W. Chapman, books and stationery; L. Crede, confectioner and baker; D.M. Ward & Co., general merchandise and saloon; J. Mann, general merchandise; D.R. Phifer, livery and sale stables; Geo. McWhirter, wholesale grocer; Thos. F. Harmon, groceries; A.L. Knighton, groceries; H.C. Summers, groceries and saloon; Jos. Brown, clothing, dry goods, and general merchandise; A:M. Bowers, groceries and saloon; Edward Scholtz, jeweller and optician; M.S. Epstin, dry goods; Floyd & Purcell, general merchandise; Davis & Goggans, dry goods; J.W. Kibler & Co., groceries; Smith & Warren, clothing and gentlemen’s furnishing goods; S.P. Boozer & Son, hardware and guns; Cofield & Lyons, wholesale druggists; S.B. Jones, confectionery and restaurant; Summer Brothers, dry goods; C.L. Havird, dry goods; Thomas F. Tarrant, dry goods and millinery; Proctor Todd, groceries and confectionery; C. & G.S. Mower, dry goods; W.A. Kinard, groceries and confectionery; Paul Johnstone, dry goods; J.W. White, gunsmith; L.R.W. Riser, groceries, dry goods, and millinery; Leavell & Speers, marble yards; O.K. Klettner, groceries and saloon; John Donahoe, groceries; W.T. Tarrant, general merchandise; J.W. Montgomery, jeweller; J.N. Martin, wholesale grocer; J.B. Martin, carriages, wagon, and buggies; R.C. Williams, art store; R.C. Chapman, undertaker; R.Y. Leavell, furniture; L.M. Speers, undertaker; F.R. Wallace & Co., groceries; J.D. Smith, livery and sale stable; Fant & Buford, carriages, buggies, &c.; A.J. McCaughrin, dealer in fertilizers; Peoples & Johnson, hardware; Wright & J.W. Coppock, clothing; W.H. Hunt, Jr., books and stationery; O.H.P. Fant, whole sale groceries; Summers Brothers, groceries; Jordan Green, saloon; Peter Robinson, drugs; Aull & Houseal, job printing, T.R Greneker, books and
stationery; T.Q. Boozer, groceries and saloon; Caldwell Brothers, groceries; RA. Schumpert, carriages and buggies; D.B. Wheeler, sewing machines; M.J. Scott, tin shop; A. J. Sproles, tinware; W.T. Davis, sash, door, and blind factory; J.T. Taylor, wagon and carriage factory; Dominick & Lovelace, grist mills; B.H. Blease, livery stable; W.H. Blatts, shoe shop; Harbey Reese, barber; Tom Williams, blacksmith; Elijah Phillips, blacksmith; Charles Cannon, blacksmith; Joe Hines, blacksmith; and O.McR. Holmes, fertilizers.
The cotton buyers are Messrs. W.H. Stapleton, O.McR. Holmes, J.N. Martin, J.W. Lake, and
Mr. Hicks. The cotton weighers are Wm. M. Lane and S.B. Aull. Messrs. Carlisle & Lane are real estate agents. The insurance agents are Messrs. S.P. Boozer & Son, E. A. Scott, James F. Glenn, W.T. Tarrant, James F. Todd, and J.A. Burton, who is also a commission merchant.” Reprinted from South Carolina in the 1880s: A Gazetteer by J.H. Moore, Sandlapper Publishing Company – 1989
I take the following from the Newberry News of February 24th, 1882: “The Newberry Opera House, finished and complete in all its parts and appointments was dedicated last Monday Dight. On the stage were Mayor J. P. Pool, Aldermen J. Y. McFall, D. W. T. Kibler, Geo. A. Langford and D. M. Ward ; President Holland of Newberry College, Capt. A. P. Pifer of the Female Academy, Capt. O. L. Schumpert of the Thespian Club, Gen. Y. J. Pope and Mr. C. G. Jaeger. The interesting ceremonies were begun by Gen. Pope, who represented the Mayor and Aldermen, and who spoke in fitting words of the gentlemen who had erected the building by their money, brain and brawn; and he likewise expressed the appreciation of the citizens at having so magnificent and serviceable a structure. Then followed a varied entertainment, consisting of very sweet and beautiful music and singing by Mrs. F. O. Bailey, of Newberry, and Mrs. Warren Davis, of Charleston, and remarks by Profs. Holland and Pifer and Capt. Schumpert; the former expressing thanks for tho use of the building for commencement and other exercises, the latter for school exhibitions, and Capt. Schumpert spoke in behalf of the Thespian corps; at the close of which Mr. Jaeger, whose brilliant mind is recognized wherever he is known, read a poem…..
(Information from: The Annals of Newberry Co., SC – O’Neall and Chapman, Aull and Houseal Publishers – 1892)
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