Grand Opera House
2020 Postoffice Street,
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The Grand 1894 Opera House (Official)
Architects: Tignal Franklin Cox
Firms: Killis Almond & Associates
Styles: Romanesque Revival
Previous Names: Martini Theatre, State Theatre
The Grand Opera House was opened in 1895, a neo-Romanesque style theater on Postoffice Street. It was designed by Frank Cox. The opera house building also included a hotel and retail stores. The 1900 hurricane which devastated Galveston caused a great deal of damage to the Grand, but it was rebuilt in 1901. By 1903, movies had begun to be shown along with live theater, vaudeville, and minstrel shows.
The Grand was acquired by Attillo Martini in 1924, who renamed it the Martini Theatre. In 1937, when the New Martini Theatre was built, the theater was again renamed, the State. During its days as a movie house, the theater seated 1200. It remained in operation as a movie house until closing in 1971.
Upon its purchase by the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council in 1974, the twelve year-long restoration of the Grand Opera House began, which returned the building back to its turn of the 20th century appearance. The theater is owned and operated today by the non-for-profit 1894, Inc. It hosts stage shows, concerts, and other live entertainment.
The Texas State Legislature proclaimed the Grand the “Official Opera House of Texas” in 1993.
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