Recollections of Things I Forget to Remember!

The following article appeared in the Marquette Tribune on April 15, 2004.

Built before 1878 in Montello, the Opera House or Dodge’s Opera House as it is often referred to, was the hub of social activity. The top floor had balcony seats. Dances, visiting theater groups and medicine shows were the entertainment of the day. Later a 3-piece orchestra or a piano player accompanied the silent movies.

by Joanie Ingraham The column today was actually all started by the Opera Hall ticket (below) that was submitted by Bob Knickerbocker, Oshkosh.

He found it with a bunch of old coins and decided to donate it to the Montello Historic Preservation Society. I nabbed it long enough to scan it before turning it over to them.

As I am not certain if everything will show up, the ticket reads: 1776 / 1881 (in the upper corners) Everybody invited to attend! Grand Ball at Opera Hall, Montello, July Fourth, Managers: A.D. Wilkins, C.A. Cook, John Barry; Music by the Montello Band! Tickets one dollar each!

Considering that this was 1881 (five years after the building was completed) we figured $1.00 was expensive for ordinary citizens. Most workers at that time were lucky to earn $1.00 a day for their labors. Later, the second ticket on the right was brought in by Barry Brewer of Montello. This one may be difficult to read as it is dark red with gold lettering. Very pretty but not great for printing in this column, plus the gold lettering 

It is amazing that despite updates, little has changed in the Opera House appearance over the last 90 years. The Opera Hall is shown above with a new face in 1914. (MCHS photo) The photo on the upper left shows Dodge’s barn at the north of the Opera Hall. It is still there in 1914 but no longer there in the photo today. How fortunate the Montello community is today to have the building, perserved and still in use today as a theater – presently owned by Dave and Dawn Anderson.