How Victoria Theatre rose from burned opera house to Dayton mainstay

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Originally named the Turner Opera House, Dayton's oldest theater, known now as the Victoria Theatre, was destroyed by fire in 1869.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Turner Opera House opened Jan. 1, 1866, a year after the Civil War ended.

The lot, construction and furnishings cost brothers Joseph and William Turner $325,000. The opera house seated 1,300, and the auditorium was decorated in blue and gold with 40-foot-high fresco ceilings.

The site is the subject of this week's update to the Then & Now photo gallery, celebrating the past and present of Dayton through former and current views of notable locations.

Explore>>> RELATED: Victoria marks 150 years despite 2 fires, a flood and financial woes

A devastating fire in 1869 destroyed the theater, leaving only the facade facing Main Street after only a few years of performances by thespians, minstrels and comedic burlesque shows.

New investors rebuilt the theater in 1871, and the operatic soprano Euphrosyne Parepa Rosa opened the newly named Music Hall. Tickets cost $1.50 each, and boxes were $10.

The theater changed names several times over its long history. Today the Victoria Theatre is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

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Victoria Theater from the stage

@VictoriaTheatre a grand entertainment space - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Ty Greenlees

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