Stonington Opera House

1 Opera House Lane,
Stonington, ME 04681

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Stonington Opera House

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Located at the end of W. Main Street and School Street in Stonington, on Deer Island. The original Russ Music Hall, built in 1886, was later renamed the Stoningham Opera House and had 1,000 seats. It burnt down in 1910. It was rebuilt on the same site almost immediately thereafter.

The Stoningham Opera House opened in 1912 and has been a multi-purpose building from its inception. Vaudeville, Chautauqua performances, plays, dances, roller skating have all taken place in the building.

It began showing movies in 1914 and talkies from 1929. It showed movies continuously throughout the 1940’s and sparodically thereafter. The building also served as the High School gymnasium until 1947 and the Town Hall until 1951. It showed movies again from 1980 to 1986.

Closed except for special events, it reopened in the 1990’s showing movies (but not on a daily basis) and presents also concerts and live shows. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 16, 1991.

Contributed by TC, Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Stonington Opera House; it’s Card # 449. Address is “West St.” (incorrect). There is an exterior photo dated May 19, 1941. Condition is Poor. Tre report says it opened in 1917, was showing MGM films, and had 300 seats. The 1940 population was 1,400. Today, the address is 1 Opera House Lane, at the end of Main Street.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

This theater is not open every day so a visitor needs to call ahead. It’s interesting that when it was built in 1912 to replace the old Russ Music Hall it had 750 fewer seats. Was this because the 1912 population was smaller due to the fact that the granite industry on Deer Isle was not as busy as it had been in the 1880s when the Russ Music Hall was built?

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