See this location 2001
OPERA HOUSE FIRE
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See this location 2001
Smethport's Kittredge Opera House burned to the ground in a tragic FIRE November 28, 1898 but you can CLICK on the DOOR and GO INSIDE!
McKean County Miner 10/14/1880 Kittredge's Opera House building outshines any wooden structure in the Northern tier of counties. Everbody says it is a beauty, and we acquiesce most heartily in this opinion.
McKean County Miner 10/28/1880 Wal. Orlrander is now serving beef steak and sirloin, and all kinds of fresh meat at his new market in the Kittredge Opera House basement. Wal. Has a neat place and keeps nothing but the tenderest of meats. Go see for yourself
McKean County Miner 3/24/1881 Mr. C. F. Kittredge has ornamented his Opera House with a handsome sign, which adds materially to its exterior appearance.
McKean County Miner 3/31/1881
LAST WEEK'S ENTERTAINMENT The amusement loving people
of Smethport and vicinity enjoyed a rare treat last week, occasioned by
the appearance of Miss May Roberts, the celebrated emotional actress, with
Sterling Comedy, at the Kittredge Opera House on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
On Thursday evening the company played the popular comedy entitled " Led Astray," concluding with the roaring farce, entitled "To Oblige Benson."
On Friday evening they appeared in the celebrated drama which is now being performed by Sara Bernhardt, from the French of Alexander Dumas, entitled "Camille, or the Fate of a Coquette."
On Saturday evening, the last night of their appearance in Smethport, they
presented the celebrated drama from Tennyson's poem, entitled "Enoch Arden,"
followed by Balcony Scene from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," closing
the side-splitting farce entitled "Humpty Dumpty."
Miss May Roberts is a grand success as an emotional actress, and being supported by a company of first-class artists, we have no hesitancy in saying that it was the best combination the citizens of Smethport ever had the pleasure of witnessing in their own town.
The attendance on each evening was large, but should the company ever again visit our town the Opera House would no doubt be filled to its utmost capacity.
McKean County Miner 5/19/1881 Tuesday evening an accident happened at the Opera House which might have proved a disastrous blow to Smethport, only for the coolness and promptness of a few of the attendants at the fair. The large and handsome chandelier, holding some sixteen lamps, fell to the floor smashing the lamps and setting fire to the oil. It was a miraculous escape for the Opera House indeed. The weight of the chandelier was so great it would not turn on the swivel, it being customary to turn it around when lighting the lamps, but unscrewed were it was connected above the ceiling thus letting the massive iron ornament fall to the floor crushing it to pieces. Luckily there were very few people in attendance at the time. It was in the early part of the evening, or the affair might have terminated most seriously. Father Smith and Father Gallgher were somewhat distrubed as they were standing very near the centre of the hall when the chandelier fell.
(2001 editorial )The Miner had trouble deciding in 1880 whether to spell
it Kittredge or Kittridge but finally settled on the "e." Later
papers used the "i" but
I think that was careless spelling.
The above articles show that Smethport in the 1880s enjoyed lively entertainment
in a splendid oil lit building. Gas lighting in homes is mentioned
a little later so a shift must have been occurring about that time.
- One of the most delightful social events in the young people's circle ever held in Smethport was the dancing party evening of last week by Mrs. D. C. Young and Mr. J. M. McElroy for their sons, Raymond Young and Fred McElroy. The Opera House never presented a more inviting appearance than it did on the above evening. The room was elaborately trimmed with flowers and ferns, the result of the handiwork. There were sixty-five persons in attendance, and the young people all express themselves as having spent a most enjoyable evening. An elegant collation was served at the Wright House, and in his connection it will not be out of place to speak of the elaborate manner in which the spacious dinning room of that popular hostelry had been decorated. the room was festooned an all sides with flowers and ferns, and presented a most attractive appearance
1892: Death of C. F. Kittredge
OPERA HOUSE DESTROYED BY FIRE!
Dog Saves Mrs. Kittredge!
November 28, 1898
Opera House Burned to the Ground - Mrs. Kittredge Badly Burned - Heath's Barber Shop Destroyed - Losses and Insurance, etc.
About 11:30 o'clock Monday night the fire alarm sounded which called many of our people from a sound and refreshing sleep. The hose boys responded promptly, when it was discovered that volumes of smoke, were pouring from the opera house.
There had been a dancing school going on that night, the young people having just gone home, and George Hyde and Leo Koenig were in the building putting out the lights when it was discovered that the rear part of the building was in flames. Mrs. Kittredge, who resided on the lower floor in the rear part of the building, was rescued with difficulty from the burning building. Water was turned on as soon as possible but there was no possible chance of saving the doomed structure.
Crowds of men did all that could be done to save the foods in H. C. Wells' drug store and Jos. A. Holder's grocery, while others were doing all in their power to save the household goods of Elmer e. Heath and his barber shop fixtures. Almost everyone in town was on the ground assisting in removing goods from the burning buildings while opportunity offered. When that was past there was nothing else to do but watch the firemen working like beavers to save the Wright House on the east side and Mrs. Taylor's dwelling on the west. Fortunately there was not a breath of air stirring, or at least two squares of Main street on the west would have gone up in smoke. Or, had there been a wind from the west the Wright House, Daly's barn and other buildings would certainly have been destroyed. The spectators stood amazed at the fierceness of the flames. The height of the building, built entirely of wood, gave the flames a chance to vent their power, and when the lower store rooms were reached where gas was used it added, seemingly, a hundred fold to the force of the flames. Streams of water from all sides were poured upon the doomed building, but to no avail. The many guests of the Wright House gathered up their valuable belongings expecting to be compelled to move out, but fortune favored Mr. Wright and his family. A few windows were broken and the paint on the outside of the building was somewhat marred. Mrs. Wright furnished sandwiches and hot coffee to the hundreds gathered at the fire.
Mrs. Kittredge's dog, Dandy, was really the discoverer of the fire. He had been put to bed in the bed room, while she was sitting in an adjacent room. She was attracted by his continually coming to her and running back to the bed room. She followed him thence and discovered that the entire ceiling of the room was in flames. Thinking that the dancing party was still in progress, she hastened out and gave the alarm. By the time she returned the poor dog had been nearly burned to death, and in trying to save some jewels Mrs. Kittredge was badly burned about the face and hands. She was immediately taken to the Wright House where Dr. Chadwick dressed the burns.
The losses and insurance are distributed as follows: Opera house, loss $10,000, insurance $4,000; Wells' drug store, loss $4,000, insurance $1,000; Holder's grocery, loss $1,200, insurance $500; Heath's barber shop, loss $1,000, insurance $400.
The Opera House property was advertised to be sold at the December term of court. It is hoped that enterprising persons will buy the ground and commence the erection of a suitable building at an early date.
Read the Smethport Hose Company (later the Smethport
Fire Department) OFFICIAL MINUTES about the fire that totally destroyed
it in 1898.
Monday Nov. 28, 1898