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   Golden Age of American Theatre

New York
Academy of Music
14th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place, Built: 1854, Demolished: 1926 http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast.htm#Academy

Castle Garden, Battery Park, Built: 1808, Demolished: 1940
Originally Fort Clinton, this round brick edifice was built on a small island just off Battery Park. As landfill expanded Manhattan's coastline, the island was subsumed into park. In 1824, the fort was roofed over and converted into an indoor garden. Renovated to serve as a concert venue in 1839, and was used by early minstrel troupes. Castle Garden became an opera house in 1847, and hosted Jenny Lind's New York debut in 1850. Five years later it became New York's immigrant depot, and was turned into an aquarium in 1895. Now owned by the U.S. government, it serves as a reception center for visitors to the Statue of Liberty.  http://www.musicals101.com/bwayformer.htm#Castle 

Daly's Fifth Ave. Theatre 
Manhattan walking tour map
1221 Broadway at 30th Street, Other names: Banvard's Museum (1867), Wood's Museum (1868), Broadway (1876), Metropolitan
Built: 1867, Demolished: 1920  http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast1b.htm#Daly 

Empire Theatre
Manhattan walking tour map
1430 Broadway, at 40th St,1893, Charles Frohman 
1430 Broadway near 40th Street, Built: 1893, Demolished: 1953, Owned by Al Hayman http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast2.htm#Empire 

Harlem Opera House
207 West 125th St. opened 1889, Oscar Hammerstein

Hammerstein's Harlem Opera House, week of Jan. 24, 1895

Miss Olga Nethersole in Camille

Lyceum Theatre  
Manhattan walking tour map
west side of Fourth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets. http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Lyceum,NYC2.jpg
Lyceum (Old), 312-316 Fourth Avenue (North of 24th Street), Built: 1885, Demolished: 1902
History: The first NY theatre to be lighted entirely by electricity. http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast3b.htm#Lyceum 

Madison Square Theatre  
Manhattan walking tour map
  24th St. (5th and Madison)  http://www.daviscrossfield.com/madison.htm

Madison Square Theatre program 1885

Madison Square Theatre floor plan

Fifth Avenue Theatre, 27 West 28th Street (NW Corner), Also named: St. James, Madison Square, H.C. Miner's 5th Avenue Theatre, Built: 1873, Demolished: 1939?, Seats: 1,529 Note: This theatre took its name from an opera house that burned down in 1873. An 1877 renovation included a ventilation system that blew air over blocks of ice, making this the world's first air conditioned theatre. Destroyed by fire in 1891, it was rebuilt at the same location and renamed the Madison Square. Musicals: The Pirates of Penzance 1879 - US Premiere  http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast2.htm#Fifth 

Stanford White's Madison Square Garden Theatre 
1890 1892 program, AM Palmer  Manhattan walking tour map
NE corner of Madison Square Garden, Madison Avenue at 27th Street, Built: 1890, Demolished: 1925, Seats: 1,200, Architects: McKim, Mead and White, Owners/Managers: Albert M. Palmer (1890-1896), Charles Frohman (1896-1915)
History: Part of the Madison Square Garden complex, this theatre booked plays, operas and musicals, becoming a favorite with fashionable audiences of the 1890s. Architect Stanford White was murdered while attending a 1906 performance in the Madison's Garden Roof summer theatre.  http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast3.htm#Garden 

Olympic Theatre   
Manhattan walking tour map
   444 Broadway, between Howard and Grande, John Nickinson  at 1841-1850.
Olympic (1st), 422 Broadway (between Howard & Grand Streets), Later Name: Mitchell's Olympic, Built: 1837, Demolished: 1854
History: Modeled after the London Olympic, eventual owner William Mitchell turned this into one of the most popular theatres in Manhattan. It was converted into retail space in 1852, and burned down two years later.  http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast4.htm 

Palmer's Theatre 
Manhattan walking tour map
Broadway & 30th, later (1891) Hoyt's Theatre, Union Square Theatre, Wallacks' Theatre (third) Broadway and Thirtieth Street  (just south of Greeley Square)

Hoyt's Theater Sept. 11, 1895 Today it was rumoured, and I heard it was announced in some of yesterday's papers - that we open on the 19th in Buffalo, NY for three nights and Saturday matinee, and return to open on the 23rd at Hoyt's [Madison Square] Theatre for a run.  Mr. Chas Frohman is attending rehearsals, is very pleasant and seems to be well pleased with the work of the company.  

Hoyt's Theatre program week commencing Nov. 4, 1895

Gay Parisians

Tony Pastors Theatre 
Manhattan walking tour map
"A little playhouse in the Tammany Hall Building, on the north side of 14th Street, near Third Avenue.  The attractions are invariably of the variety order." (Kings NYC)   

Tony Pastor, the vaudevillian, was a living summation of nineteenth-century urban entertainment. An Italian born in 1834 (or thereabouts), the son of a grocer, Pastor was an uneducated urchin who sang at temperance meetings, played tambourine in a minstrel company at Barnum's Museum on lower Broadway in 1847, and knocked around through half a dozen circuses in the 1850s, working as a singer, clown, acrobat, tumbler, dancer, and horseback rider, often all in a single show. In the early years of the Civil War, Pastor began a career as a balladeer in "concert saloons," descendants of the English music hall where the acts were often flimsy excuses for the alcohol, and the "waitress girls" considered the serving of drinks the beginning rather than the end of their job. Pastor became a beloved figure, famed for a stock of 1,500 tunes, and for his good-humored ribaldry. He sang about soused Irishmen and farcical Negroes and avenging wives and long-suffering husbands. James Traub, The Devil's Playground : A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square, 2004 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0375507884/103-8920797-5029402?_encoding=UTF8&n=283155 

Tony Pastor Collection, Humanities Research Collection, Univ. of Texas Austin http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fa/pastor.html [1837-1908]

A letter from Albert, aged 14 to his mother mentions going to Tony Pastor's Theater.

Union Square Theatre  
Broadway and Fourth Avenue, Built: 1870, Demolished: 1936, Owners: Sheridan Shook, Albert Palmer (1872-1883), Keith and Albee (1873-1914).  History: Built for variety, the Union Square switched to legit bookings in 1872. In 1883, Keith and Albee added it to their growing vaudeville circuit -- the Four Cohans made their Manhattan debut on the opening bill. A movie house from 1914 on.  http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast6.htm#Union 

Washington DC, Jan 6, 1893  [Ramsey Morris] hints of being established permanently in a New York Theatre should Joseph be a hit in New York we shall remain for a longer period than three weeks.  I am afraid though that the Union Square is not the right theatre for us - too far downtown now. 

New York, Mar 24, 1893 In today's Herald you will see an article stating that B.F. Keith of Boston will take charge of the Union Square Theatre on April 8th.  That is the end of our present engagement, but Mr. Keith & Mr. [Ramsey] Morris are in negotiation to continue Joseph for an indefinite run.  Whether their efforts will be successful remains to be seen.  I hope they will be. 

Manhattan walking tour map
Third Wallacks later Palmer's Theater
Wallack's (1st), Broadway and Broome Street (SW corner), Built: 1850, Demolished: 1869, History: Built by actor John Brougham, who called it the Lyceum. Actor-manager James W. Wallack took over the house in 1852 and renamed it for himself. After Wallack left to manage his new 13th Street theatre (see below), the theatre underwent several changes of name and ownership. http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast6.htm#Wallack's1 

Wallack's (2nd), Broadway at 13th Street, Later named: Germania, Star, Built: 1861, Demolished: 1901  Note: This was the second theatre to bear the name of actor-manager James W. Wallack. After Wallack's death, his son Lester managed the theatre until 1881. Later known as the Germania and the Star, it housed all sorts of productions until it was demolished to make room for a skyscraper. http://www.musicals101.com/bwaypast6.htm#Wallack's 

LESTER WALLACK'S THEATRE Lester Wallack moved into his up-town theatre at the northeast corner of Thirtieth Street in February, 1881, but the building was not ready for opening until January 4, 1882. The exterior of the building has never been completely finished. Here Wallack had an excellent stock company as before; but the house never became so famous or so popular as the old Thirteenth Street theatre, perhaps, because a new generation of theatre-goers had grown up and the actor-manager was getting old. He retired from active management, and the house opened as Palmer's Theatre on October 8, 1888, to become and remain Wallack's once more on December 7, 1896. Jenkins, Stephen, The Greatest Street in the World: The Story of Broadway, 1911  http://www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com/Manhattan/Broadway/Union.html  

Owen Marlowe [Virginia Nickinson's husband] and Mrs. Charles Walcott [Isabella Nickinson] were members of Wallack's Theatre Company

Section IV Entertainment including theaters and the Crystal Palace,  http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/art/print/exhibits/movingup/labeliv.htm 
Section VIII Including Broadway and hotels and businesses http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/art/print/exhibits/movingup/labeviii.htm 

New York Public Library, R. Waddell, Moving Uptown: Nineteenth Century Views of Manhattan, 1998

Bijou Theatre The Union Square Theatre company seems to have appeared here.  The Boston Athenaeum collection of theatre playbills has been helpful in tracking EJ Phillips in the years before we have letters for. 

Boston Museum  On Tremont Street (at 18 and 28), between Court and School Street, the oldest theatre [existing in 1883] in Boston opened in 1841, and its stock company gave their first performance in 1843. "The subterfuge of housing a theatre in a museum was not uncommon, for it allowed many otherwise puritanical people to enjoy play-going".  The theatre closed in 1893.  (But EJ Phillips was playing at a theatre of the same name in 1895.  See letter of March 13th.) [Oxford &  King's Dictionary of Boston (1883).

Edwin Booth had made his first stage appearance there (1849) and in 1878 HMS Pinafore had its first American presentation.  Willie Seymour joined the Museum as stage manager in 1879, remaining for ten years [Hornblow, Theatre in America

Boston, Sept. 15, 1887 Went to Boston Museum to see Dominie's Daughter yesterday afternoon
Detroit Mar 13, 1895 My address next week is Boston  Museum

Boston Theatre was on Washington Street, near West Street, Boston.  Built in 1854, seated 3,000. Kings Boston 
Boston, May 27, 1888 We remain here two weeks longer playing Jim [the Penman]  It was decided last Thursday when A.M.P[almer] came to attend the Actors Fund benefit at the Boston Theatre

Boston Museum and Boston Theatre histories, Boston Athenaeum  http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/bostontheaterhistoriesa.html

The Park Theatre "A small, compact, and elegant playhouse"  (Washington Street near the corner of Boylston) " The Union square and the Madison square companies of New York  have played long engagements."  Built in 1879, seated 1184.  [Kings Boston]
Boston, May 15, 1890 I have been to witness two performances at Park Theatre.  The first was Fanny Davenport in La Tosca and last Monday night -- Frederick Warde in Belphigor the Mountebank.  You see I am not much given to running around much at nights. 

Park Theatre History, Boston Athenaeum http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/bostontheaterhistoriesn.html 

Star Theatre Sept.- Oct. 1890

Chicago's first theatre dates from 1847 Cambridge

Hooleys Theater Richard Hooley (1822-1893) Hooley's Theatre first opened in 1872.

Richard Hooley photograph http://www.ancientfaces.com/family/Photos/details/index.cfm?18435 

McVicker's Theatre, Chicago The First McVicker's Theatre was built in 1857 and destroyed in the great fire. Rebuilt in 1872 and remodelled in 1885, it burnt again Aug 26, 1890, during the run of the war play Shenandoah. Rebuilt, it opened again in March 1891 with the  [Joseph] Jefferson -Florence company of The Rivals. 

McVicker's Theatre, Chicago http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/1798/
McVicker's Theatre photograph http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Ephemera.html

The reconstruction of Chicago's Hooley's Theater in 1882 was the first commission to generate praise for Louis Henry Sullivan independent of Adler. Louis Henry Sullivan was, said one commentator, "the master spirit directing and shaping the creation" (1) of the new interior. By the time McVicker's Theater was remodeled in 1885, Louis Henry Sullivan 's work was "the best" of its kind in Chicago, according to one critic, "superior to anything heretofore seen in any public building in this country", in the eyes of another. Famous Architects  http://architect.architecture.sk/louis-henry-sullivan-architect/louis-henry-sullivan-architect.php 

JH Stoddart  writes in his Recollections of a Player that in 1888 the Company "began our usual summer tour, which opened at the Chicago Opera House, the first time the company had ever played in that theater.

Denver  Aug. 26, 1890 See by paper this Morning that McVickers Theatre, Chicago, burnt down last night.  We are to play at Hooleys.

New York, May 12, 1892 I shall stop over at the Sherman House in Chicago as we play at Hooley's Theatre House in the same block.  It seems a long journey to take for one week's work but so it is. 

Chicago, Oct. 19, 1893  We have very strong attractions against us but so far we have done very well.  The theatre we play in is called the Schiller.  It is a new theatre and very comfortable in regard to dressing rooms &c.

Schiller Theatre 1892-1960 [demolished] http://www.cinematour.com/theatres_us.php?province=IL&page=4

New York, Nov. 18, 1895 Well I was not asked to go to London, but to Chicago for a Summer Season, after this Season is over, which will not be for some time yet.  The Summer Season will be for from ten to sixteen weeks at Hooley's Theatre, possibly beginning in June.  So I accepted and think that will be better than going to London and perhaps getting lost in the fog.   

John Nickinson was stage manager at Pike's Opera House from the early 1860's until his death in 1864. 

Washington DC Jan 8, 1893 I play in Pike's Opera House, Cin'ti [Cincinnati] and think I shall stop at the Burnett House as it is the nearest to theatre.

Detroit, Nov. 15, 1893  In Cincinnati next week we play at the "Grand Opera House" so you can send [letters] there. 

Pike's Opera House, Cincinnati, Great Fire of 1866, Harper's Weekly April 14, 1866 http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohhamilt/pics003.html

FRANK LESLIE'S ILLUSTRATED New York and dated: April 14, 1866. This 16 page newspaper contains prints and text concerning the latest news of the day. Some of the prints and news in this issue include: "Burning of Pike's Opera House, Cincinnati" shows the fire company--with fire engines--in action.  http://www.rarenewspapers.com/new.asp

Pike's Opera House also burned in 1903

Los Angeles, Sept. 19, 1888  Direct your letters to Theatre.  A.M. Palmer, Co.  At Denver, "Tabor Opera House". 

Tabor Opera House, Denver, 1881 http://www.taboroperahouse.net/

The Westin Hotel is located next to the Tabor Center, a multi-use office, hotel and shopping complex. The Tabor Center is built on the site of the former Tabor Opera House named for Horace Tabor, Colorado's silver mining King. Not only famous for his wealth, Horace Tabor's life became the basis for the opera "The Ballad of Baby Doe," detailing the love triangle of him, his wife August and his true love, Baby Doe. http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/econ/group8/summit97/sites.htm

Baby Doe Tabor http://www.babydoetabor.com/ 

Denver  Aug. 26, 1890  There is a new large theatre here called "The Broadway Theatre". Opera is being played there, this being the second week.  Lohengrin was the Opera last night.
Aug. 29, 1890 Our business is good notwithstanding we have at the new Broadway Theatre and Comic Opera at another house against us. 

Kansas City
The NEW COATES Coates Opera House on Diagonal Corner 
Best Attractions Only
Kansas City, Mo  Septr 29th 1896 

Coates House and Coates Opera House, Kansas City Public Library  http://www.kclibrary.org/sc/exhibits/theaters/coates.htm

Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Sept. 19, 1888  The theatre here is very pretty, as far as the Auditorium goes, but the dressing rooms are very uncomfortable. 

Aug 12, 1890 The dressing rooms at theatre were very hot last night, but that was due to the gas and want of proper ventilation.  Our house was crowded and everything passed off nicely. 

New Orleans
James H. Caldwell established a first-rate English-speaking theatre in New Orleans by 1819.  Cambridge

Ben DeBar (1812-1877) had been "stage manager for Noah Ludlow and Sol Smith at the St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans, when they retired in 1843 he assumed management of their  New Orleans  and St. Louis  theatres. 

St. Charles Theatre, New Orleans, LA http://www.saengeramusements.com/theatres/nawlins/stcharle/stcharle.htm

EJ Phillips was for some years a member of the famous stock company Ben DeBar [1821-1877 HAS] at St. Louis. She went from St. Louis  to New Orleans to play old lady parts at the Varieties Theatre, the leading stock theatre at New Orleans, under the management of Lawrence Barrett.(1838-1891).  

Arch Street Theatre 
Opened in 1828 as a rival to the Chestnut and Walnut Street Theatres in Philadelphia.  The theatre's heyday began in 1861 when Mrs. John [Louisa Lane] Drew (1820-1897) established it as one of the greatest of American stock companies.  The house was under her control for the next 31 years.

John Drew founded the Arch St. Theatre, married Louisa Lane Drew and they were the parents on Georgia Drew Barrymore, and grandparents of Lionel, Ethel and John.  http://www.theatrealliance.org/barrymores/barryname.html 
Arch Street Theatre, 609-615 Arch Street http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/16554 Irwin R. Glazer Theater Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia 

Philadelphia, Aug. 29, 1887  Jim [the Penman] is to be played here in the "Arch" [Street Theatre] next Monday.  Mr. Holliday will be with the party. Joe Whiting as "Jim" & Ada Dyas as "Mrs. Ralston" and Mr. [H.M.] Pitt for his old part of "Percival"  This will give us rehearsals as the cast must be changed considerably.

Broad Street Theatre 
Hotel Davidson, Nov 8, 1893 Milwaukee New Years day open in Philadelphia for two or more weeks at Broad St theatre.

Philadelphia, Mar 15, 1898  I was called very unexpectedly to play a part at the Broad St. Theatre -- and everything had to be given up to that.  A week ago Sunday Mr. and Mrs. [Willie] Seymour called to see me -- he being here with Mr. Sol Smith Russell who was playing a two weeks engagement at the Broad St. Theatre.  We had a pleasant chat -- and he left about 6 PM and I did not suppose I should see him again.  -- but as I was washing the supper dishes on Monday he came in a cab -- to ask me to go with him to the theatre to play "Clementina" in A Bachelor's Romance in place of Mrs. F.A. Pitt whose husband Mr. H.M. Pitt had died at 3 PM that day in New York and she would have to go on to New York to attend the funeral -- so I took a couple of gowns and went. 

Chestnut St. Theatre The [New] Chestnut Street Theatre was built in 1862 on the north side of Chestnut Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets, a full seven blocks to the west of the old theatre, and considered by many too far removed from the theatre district to succeed.  But "the rapid westward expansion of center-city Philadelphia  soon made the new Chestnut Street Theatre the city's most fashionably located theatrical facility."  [from?]

FF Mackay was manager of the Chestnut Street Theatre from 1875-78, along with William Gemmill (c. 1845- 1882 CDP) and J. Frederick Scott.  However in 1878 severe internal difficulties began and the Company's previously favorable position (as Philadelphia's only first-class resident company) began to erode. Many of the company's best actors resigned. 

Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 1893 On New Years Day we open with a Matinee [Lady Windermere's Fan] at Chestnut Street Theatre [Philadelphia]  for two weeks

Concert Hall and Chestnut Street Theatre, Chestnut Street at Twelfth (north side), 1211-27 Chestnut Street, Watercolor by Benjamin R. Evans, 1879, Library Company of Philadelphia. http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/washw/images/C/C11.jpg

Chestnut Street Opera House, 1021-1029 Chestnut St. http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/14712 http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/ajnls/tsq/images/i/tsq030.jpg 

National Theatre
New York, Mar 5, 1894 So I expect my season will close on the 1st of May.  Where I do not yet know, as we have not yet heard our route: only that we close Holy Week and begin our new season at the National Theatre, Phila on Easter Monday. 

Park Theatre, Broad and Fairmont Ave, Broken Seal Mar 28, 1892 for one week

Walnut Street Theatre Isabella Nickinson Walcott and her husband Charles Walcott were in this theatre company before joining Daniel Frohman's New York company in 1887

Walnut Theatre Online (1809-present) http://www.wstonline.org/about.html

Philadelphia, May 5, 1895 John [Dolman] is now the Phila correspondent of the New York "Clipper" and has to go in search of news.  He visits the various theatres in town nearly every night now, and I tell him he is getting very giddy.  He was rather bashful at first, but is beginning to like it.  

Philadelphia Theatrical Papers 1877- 1943, Univ. of Delaware Library http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/phila.htm

 Pittsburgh, Pa  Novr 27th 1894 We are playing at the "Alvin" Theatre, almost adjoining this hotel [Hotel Schlosser]. 

Pittsburgh, Nov. 28, 1894 Here I am living next door to theatre, which is also a great rest to me, and I am beginning to feel quite like myself.

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Sept. 15, 1896  We had a splendid house last night.  First night in ten weeks that the theatre has been open.  The Public was hungry for a show I guess.  I hope this and tomorrow night's will be as well attended.   Wish we were booked here for a week, Hotel and Theatre both comfortable, and only across the street from each other.

Saint Louis
Noah Ludlow and Sol Smith established the first real theatre in St. Louis in 1835. Cambridge 
EJ Phillips was for some years a member of the famous stock company Ben DeBar [1821-1877 HAS

Theater in Kansas 1858-1868, James C. Malin, Kansas Historical Quarterly, Summer 1957  http://www.kshs.org/publicat/khq/1957/57_2_malin.htm 

Cleveland, Nov. 17, 1893  Then go to St Louis.  Play in the old Olympic where I used to belong to the Stock Co [with Benedict DeBar].  

Cincinnati, Nov 23, 1893 On the 4th St Louis.  We play at the Olympic Theatre there and I shall stop at Southern hotel which is just opposite theatre. 

The Olympic Theatre closed in 1916 http://stlouis.missouri.org/neighborhoods/history/cbd/architecture7.htm 

Kansas City, Oct. 1, 1896   We play at a new theatre [in St. Louis] named "The Century".

Lindell Hotel, St. Louis, Oct. 4, 1896   Four blocks from theatre, which is a new one next door to Pope's old theatre which has been taken down, and a new block of buildings is being erected on the site, for stores, I guess. 

Salt Lake City
Shortly after the Mormon's arrival in Salt Lake they built a small playhouse and Brigham Young was determined to construct a first class theatre.  Construction began in July 1861 and the formal opening was in March 1862.  In 1870 the railroad connected Salt Lake City to both coasts and "during the next fifth years practically every notable actor of the American stage" appeared there and was the favorite of many "not only because of the enthusiasm of its audiences, but also because of the atmosphere and character of the house".  [History Am Theatre]

Salt Lake City, Sept. 14, 1886 Last night we opened to a crowded house and that means something here, for the auditorium of the Mormon Theatre is pretty well as large as the Grand Opera House, NY

HARPERS WEEKLY, July 11, 1857 Nice article: "Salt Lake & Its Rulers" includes prints of "Gov. Brigham Young, of Utah Territory" and "Elder Heber Kimball" and a one-third pg: "View of Salt Lake" and another one-third pg. view of "Salt Lake City, Utah Territory" and an illus. of the "New Temple to be Built at Salt Lake City" plus smaller prints of Council House, and "The Tabernacle" and a "Mormon Theatre". Nice two-thirds pg. print: 

Salt Lake City Theater, Ronald G. Walker, Utah History Encyclopedia http://historytogo.utah.gov/sltheater.html

City of San Francisco, California" http://www.rarenewspapers.com/browseissues.asp?C=harpersweekly

San Francisco 
Thanks to the Gold Rush, theatre came to California. The first theatrical performance by professional actors was given in San Francisco in 1850. Cambridge

Baldwin Hotel and Theatre  At the corner of Market and Powell Streets according to hotel stationery.  Built by gambler/ entrepreneur Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin in 1875 (Sumner Bugbee, architect)  Originally called Baldwin's Academy of Music, the theatre emphasized touring stars and attractions.  "In 1878 Baldwin built a magnificent hotel which encompassed the playhouse and occupied the rest of the block.  Virtually all the great touring performers of the day appeared in their best-known vehicles at the house ... Both hotel and theatre were destroyed by fire in 1898." [Oxford]

In the evening, by way of severe contrast [to the Mission Dolores they visited earlier that day], we went to Baldwin's Theatre, attached to the hotel of the same name and just finished. It is really the prettiest to be seen in any part of the world -- a perfect little gem, fitted up like a bonbonniere in crimson satin and gold. The six proscenium boxes on either side, and the row of French boxes at the back are marvelously pretty. Nothing could be more rich and exquisite in refinement of taste. The symmetry of the house is unmarred by rows of pillars, the galleries being suspended from the roof.  California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate, Chapter 20, April, May, June, 1877. Mrs. Frank Leslie   http://members.door.net/nbclumber/Leslie/Ch20.htm

EJ “Lucky” Baldwin http://www.socalhistory.org/Biographies/baldwin.htm(1828-1909) John Wilkman, 1999

Lucky’ Baldwin, Jon Wilkman

The Baldwin Hotel and Theatre burned in 1898.  Albert Nickinson, in San Francisco for the Spanish American War took photographs of the ruins.

California Theatre  For many years the leading theatre in San Francisco, it opened in 1869 on Bush Street, designed by SC Bugbee and Son, costing $150,000, and built for Lawrence Barrett and another actor by the head of San Francisco's Bank of California.  Emphasized a resident ensemble, while its principal rival the Baldwin Theatre specialized in touring stars.  The theatre burned in 1888.  A replacement was built on the same site and destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.

Location: 430 Bush St between Kearny and Grant, San Francisco  California State Historical Landmarks San Francisco County    On this site on January 18, 1869, the California Theatre, built by William C. Ralston, opened with the following stock company: John McCullough, Lawrence Barrett, Harry Edwards, Willie Edouin, E. B. Holmes, William Mastayer, John T. Raymond, W. F. Burroughs, W. H. Sadley Smith, John Wilson, Edward J. Buckley, Mrs. Judah Emelie Melville, Elizabeth Saunders, Annette Ince, Marie E. Gordon, Sophie Edwin, Minnie Walton, and Julia Buckley. Among artists who played here were Charles W. Couldock, Edwin Adams, John Broughan, Edwin Booth, Barton Hill, Walter Montgomery, Mrs. D. P. Bowers, Adelaide Neilson, and Lotta Crabtree. This theater remained a brilliant center of drama until August 11, 1888.   

Located at what is now 440 Bush Street http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist3/playbill.html
444 Bush Street http://www.noehill.com/sf/landmarks/cal0086.asp 

The first purpose built theatre in Toronto opened in December 1848.  The brick building seated 750 and was lighted by gas, but awkwardly designed, eventually stopping first rate actors from coming to Toronto.  The theatre burned down in January 1874.  Jan. 1855 Royal Lyceum playbill 

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Toronto history, Bruce Bell http://www.brucebelltours.com/html/the_great_hall_-2.html  more

Royal Lyceum Theatre   John Nickinson and EJ Phillips at the Royal Lyceum Theatre 1850's
Theatre historian Mary Shortt wrote "In later years, [John] Nickinson's period of management at the Royal Lyceum came to seem like a golden age... but in fact ... under Nickinson [it] was never more than a third-rate provincial theatre.  His importance lay in the fact that for the first time he put Toronto's theatre on a genuinely professional basis, demonstrated that it could support a permanent stock company, and established the city as the leading theatrical centre in Canada West. [Shortt]

Nickinson's Royal Lyceum "offered a repertoire ranging from Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer to popular melodramas such as Uncle Tom's Cabin" Nickinson was known for his gala Christmas productions of Cinderella and Aladdin.  [Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatres]

Nickinson also managed Hamilton's Metropolitan Theatre, going there with the Toronto company each year.  (This must have been how he met EJ Phillips).  Hard economic times, starting in 1858, led to his giving up the Royal Lyceum in 1859. He ended up as stage manager at Pike's Opera house in Cincinnati and died there in 1864. [what is this from?]

Charlotte Nickinson Morrison at the Royal Lyceum Theatre 1871-1878

Bibliography Shortt, Mary "The Royal Lyceum: part I 1848-1859", John Nickinson chapter, Master's Thesis on Toronto theatre 1809-1874 c. 1979.

Washington DC 
National Theatre 
Narrative history 1835-present http://www.nationaltheatre.org/location/narrative.htm
Still an active theater, and only a block from the Willard Hotel, both theater and hotel are on Pennsylvania Ave., a short walk from the White House.

Ford's Theater may be better known (as the site of Lincoln's Assassination) but does not show up in these letters. AR Cazauran (1820-1889) AM Palmer's play reader and a celebrated play doctor wrote a once famous eyewitness account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Colleague William Jason Ferguson (1841-1930) Famous as the actor who saw Lincoln  shot, his stage career began at Ford's Theatre as a call boy.  The construction of the Theatre supports the claim that Ferguson  was the sole witness.  His description has been accepted as the most reliable account of the shooting (Sat Evening Post and NY Times (Apr 18, 1915) and a book I Saw Booth Shoot Lincoln (1930) 

Boston Athenaeum, Theater Database http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/theatreintro.html Programs and playbills, circa 1860-1900 
Broadway Theater Museum, New York http://www.directfrombway.org/ 
Cinema Treasures http://www.cinematreasures.org/  Mainly movie theaters, includes some theaters which began as stage theaters. Searchable
Gagey, Edmond M., The San Francisco Stage: A History, New York : Columbia University Press, 1950.
Henderson, Mary C., The City and the Theatre: New York Playhouses from Bowling Green to Times Square,  Clifton NJ: James T. White & Co, 1973.
IDDB Internet Broadway DataBase, advanced search http://www.ibdb.com/advancedsearch.asp  Searchable by play, person or New York theater. 
Jenkins, Stephen, The Greatest Street in the World: The Story of Broadway, Old and New, From the Bowling Green to Albany, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1911
Kendrick, John, Musicals 101 Theatre in New York 1865-1900 http://www.musicals101.com/bwaythhist3.htm 
Kendrick, John, New York Theatres: Past and Present http://www.musicals101.com/bwayhouses.htm  
Morrison, William, Broadway Theatres: History & Architecture, Dover Publications, Inc. 1999.
Museum of the City of New York, Theater Collection  http://www.mcny.org/Collections/theater/theater.htm
Shortt, Mary "The Royal Lyceum: part I 1848-1859", John Nickinson chapter, Master's Thesis on Toronto theatre 1809-1874 c. 1979.
van Hoogstraten, Nicholas, Lost Broadway Theaters, Princeton Architectural Press, revised edition, 1997.

Critic Alexander Woollcott on Sarah Bernhardt, Katharine Cornell and historic theaters, Miss Kitty Takes to the Road 1934 http://www.thescreamonline.com/essays/essays2-3/woollcott.html 

Last updated March 23, 2005

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