Construction for the opera house
began in 1885. On April 14, 1884 the citizens of Hayesville, Ohio
approved its construction at a special election by a vote of
100 to 13. Total cost for the building at the time was
$4852.20. Bids for the construction of the opera house were
opened August 6, 1885. Local contractor, Samuel Craig was
given the contract to build the opera house at a cost of
Work by Mr. Craig began October 1, 1885.
The two story brick building was completed on April 26, 1886 when the
operetta "Genevieve" was presented on the opera house stage.
Throughout the early years the opera house saw numerous
performances. These included serving as the location of the
annual Hayesville Memorial Day program where tribute to the veterans
from the Hayesville area was given. At this same time the opera
house was also used by the Vermillion Academy which was a local
Hayesville high school to present both school plays as well as
graduation ceremonies on its stage. Often Vaudeville shows which
featured medicine men selling their wares could be found in the opera
house as well. At the same time some of the first silent
movies in this area were shown here in the opera house.
The Hayesville Opera House is the only theatre to be found on the
Lincoln Highway. This national highway runs in front of the opera
house. This road is also known as old route 30.
Some of the architectural features found in the opera house today are
original to the building. These include; the 200 seats with hat
racks under the seats, hand painted backdrops, ticket board, and a
small section of original wallpaper. The stage area contains four
dressing rooms with the floor of the stage being slanted or "raked" to
provide the audience with the best view to the actors. Also
present but not used are the gas light fixtures back stage.
Another hidden treasure of the opera house is the hundreds of
signatures found on the walls back stage. During the early years
actors often signed the walls for good luck. Many of these names
date back to the 1890's with the earliest being Buffalo Bill Cody who
performed in the opera house in 1888.
In 1969 electricty was installed for the first time upstairs in the
In 2005 a grant from the National Park Service was used to restore the
theatre back to its 1886 appearance. The work involved restored
wooden seating, new paint and redecorating. The appearance of the
opera today is how the theatre looked in 1886, when it first open.
Today the opera house is still owned by the Village of
Hayesville Opera House Restoration Board, Inc.