Meridian Grand Opera House, ca. 1920  

Grand Opera House

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2206 Fifth Street
Meridian, Mississippi
Opened: December 17, 1890







Opened in 1890, the Grand Opera House was Meridian's venue for the best shows touring the south.


  Click for a closer look.  Hey, why is that firehose laying out in the aisle?

Click for a closer look

These photographs were taken just before the theatre was refurbished in 1920 when installing equipment for showing movies.

The building was constructed with commercial space occupying the entire first floor. The commercial spaces were leased as shops to different businesses, providing an additional income to the building's owners. The theatre occupied the floors above the retail spaces.

Details that can be seen in these photographs are classic features of opera houses of the period. There's a lady painted on the valance curtain above the stage, walls covered with decorative fabric, carved classical heads over the 2-story boxes, & a nice plaster frieze over the proscenium.

You can also see advertisements for local businesses painted on the 1st drop, & the electric lights later added to the auditorium (replacing the original gas illumination).




In 1923, the Grand Opera House was leased to a subsidiary of Saenger Theatres, Inc. The theatre was operated as a movie house until 1928, & then closed by Saenger when the company's new Meridian theatre, the Temple, was opened. A number of events resulted in its remaining sealed for decades, which turns out to be most fortuitous in the long run.

In 1988, the Grand Opera House was donated to the Historic Meridian Foundation, & found to be a theatre that was more than historically accurate -- it was virtually unchanged from when it was closed in 1928.







  Meridian Grand Opera House, 2001  

The Meridian Grand Opera House was designated March 11, 1993 as the official State Grand Opera House of Mississippi.

The Historic Meridian Foundation is currently restoring the theatre.





Other information:

  Grand Opera House, from Visit Meridian    
  Grand Opera House Project    
  Meridian Opera House, a Southern Accents story with slide show    
  Opera House History, from the Meridian Star    
  Riley Education and Performing Arts Center    


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Next: the Strand Theatre in Meridian, Mississippi



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