Nichols' Opera House
186 Greenwood Avenue,
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The Bethel Opera House was built in 1860 by Augustus A. Fisher. It has housed a public hall with hat manufacturing on the ground level, a social hall, a roller skating rink, and a high school gym. It once served as a silent movie theater, the Barnum Theatre. It was known as Fisher’s Hall, then Nichols' Opera House.
During the 1930s and 1940s, it was called Leeja Hall and was used for town meetings as well as a high school gym. It now houses a restaurant, Greenwoods, shops and White Light Studio.
The upstairs portion of the building have about 8 to 10 rooms for rent as a friend of mine has one of these. There are big signs on either side of the facade saying “Opera House”.
In the Danbury/Bethel City Directory, it has the first listing as Nichol’s Opera House showing motion pictures and owned by John F. Nichols who also was a distributor of Nichols' Old Fashion Root Beer, (“The beer with a sparkle”) as well as Nichols' Billiards and Pocket Billiards, located in the same building. It’s currently located at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and Depot Place. Its address was listed as “3 Ctr.” In the 1916 Directory, the address was known as “Depot Place”. The Danbury Library’s directory has a gap between 1919 and 1924 and WCSU’s archives has a gap between 1920-22. The 1924 Directory doesn’t have a listing for it.
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