Entertainment

There are three collections of programs and other related material.  One is called Entertainments and includes material from various facilities in the city with the exclusion of the City Hall and the Opera House.    The other 2 collections The Lawrence Opera House and the Lawrence City Hall are listed below.

 Opera House

The library has a large collection of programs from the Opera House.

The Lawrence Opera House, located on the south side of Essex Street between Lawrence and Amesbury Streets, Lawrence, Massachusetts, was built between 1879 and 1881.  The building also contained a train station in the lower level, run by the Boston and Lowell Railroad Company.  The facade of the Opera House was described as Romanesque or arched finish.   The materials used in construction were pressed brick, hammered granite, and galvanized iron.  The height of the building was 72 feet, the same size as the Odd Fellows Hall located on the same block.  When the Opera House was completed it was considered to be the most ornamental in the city.  The interior was finished in hard wood and crimson plush such as is used in railroad cars.  The seating included two balconies and four box seats as well as the lower floor, which was, called the parquette.  The Opera House hosted a variety of entertainments during the 1880s including musicals, dramatic presentations, and civic observances through the early years of the 1900s.  It changed names twice and finally ceased operations in 1931.  In the 1940s it was considered unsafe and was demolished.

 Lawrence City Hall

 Types of material in the collection include programs, handbills, announcements, and advertisements.

The only thing that remains of the Old City Hall is the cupola and base and bell and the eagle perched on top.  The original building was built in 1849.  On its stage platform would appear a variety of entertainers and public events over a number of decades.  The county courts were held in City Hall until the Court House was built.  A number of local churches used the hall as a place of worship until their own building could be constructed.  Civil War volunteers would drill there and Sumner Needham’s flag draped coffin would lie there in state.  There would be balls, political rallies, and religious revivals.  The hall would serve the purpose of a morgue during the Pemberton Mill disaster and memorial services would be held for Presidents Taylor, Lincoln, and Garfield.

Before the Town House was constructed city business was conducted in Merrimack Hall and later the Free Will Baptist Meeting House.  The site on Common Street between Appleton and Pemberton Streets was selected and construction was started in 1848.  The old building was 120 feet 8 inched long and 68 feet 8 inches wide.  The granite base extended the total size 3 inches all around.  The tower was 23 by 24 feet.  Charles Bean supervised the construction.  The Town House was finished and dedicated December 10, 1849.  In 1850the basement was fitted with jail cells where they remained until 1854.  Later the free evening school was located in the same space from 1859 to 1860.  The Town House became City Hall when Lawrence became incorporated as a city in 1853.  Renovations were done in 1918 and significant increase in size.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: