Grand Opera House Programs
Dates: 1898-1959
Accession Number: 971031A
Donor: Dorothy Clark
Description: Eighteen file folders in a document case


After the Naylor Opera House was destroyed by fire on July 21, 1896, the city of Terre Haute was without a major theater. The directors and stockholders of the Terre Haute House Company initiated the building of a new opera house by organizing the finances for a new building. The design was by the Terre Haute architectural firm of Floyd and Stone, and construction on the new building began on May 1, 1897 under the direction of August Fromme, a local home contractor.

The Grand Opera House was located on the southeast corner of 7th and Cherry streets, adjacent to the Terre Haute House. Theodore W. Barhydt, Jr., a successful theater manager from Peoria, leased the new Terre Haute opera house and eventually formed the Barhydt Theater Company to oversee its management. As president of the company, Barhydt set up his office at 29 N. 7th Street, within the Grand Opera House building. His father, Theodore W. Barhydt, Sr., served as vice-president of the company; his wife, Henrietta Barhydt, was secretary; and Shannon P. Katzenbach was the treasurer. In addition to the Grand Opera House, T.W. Barhydt, Jr. went on to manage several theaters in Terre Haute, such as the Lyric and the Varieties.

On November 2, 1897, the Grand Opera House opened with the comic opera, "The Isle of Champagne," starring Katharine Germaine and Richard Golden; prices ranged from 50 cents to $1.50. Throughout its history, the theater hosted everything from full-scale operas to minstrel shows, religious speakers, and local residents performing in plays. The house had a seating capacity of approximately 1,300 people; prices were either set by the manager or by the visiting entertainers.

In the early 1930s, the Grand Opera House's name changed to the Grand Theatre. (This is not to be confused with the more recent Grand Theater located at 8th and Wabash.) During this time, the theater's focus shifted from live entertainment to a movie house.

In February 1959, the Terre Haute Hotel Company (owners of the Terre Haute House and the Grand Opera House Block) sold the property to the Hulman family. Representatives of the Hulmans announced plans for the Grand Opera House building to be demolished. On September 21, 1959, a farewell banquet was held in the theater to honor its impressive 62 year history. The Grand Opera House building was finally razed on August 5, 1960.

Content and Scope of the Collection

This collection contains a series of Grand Opera House programs (1898-1909) that patrons would have received upon entrance to a given show. Also, in the collection is the special program for the dinner and final performance on September 21, 1959, to mark the closing of the Grand Theater. All programs are arranged in chronological order.

The opera house programs were printed by local printing companies, such as Moore and Langen Printing Company or Woodburn and Company. Often printed to accompany one to five different performances, the programs include detailed information about each show. (The 1907 programs have a star punch in the upper right-hand corner which may have represented either the number of people attending or the number of times attending using the same program.) Also included are previews of upcoming shows, many advertisements for local businesses, and guidelines for patrons to follow. (Some of the unique guidelines were no spitting, hat check requests, and directions for physicians to leave their seat numbers for ease in location if there was an emergency.)

The Grand Opera House hosted a variety of musical and theatrical events--some with local performers, others with regional, national, or international touring companies. Local events, such as high school debates and election returns (Nov. 2, 1908), were also held there. The programs reveal well-known performers, sponsors and shows, such as: Ethel Barrymore, John Phillip Sousa, Eddie Foy, Wallace T. Beery, Lillian Russell, Gertrude Lawrence, Al Jolson, Donald Crisp, George M. Cohan; the Lord and Taylor Dress Company of New York, The Wizard of Oz, The Honeymooners, Ben Hur, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

A final note about time and culture references contained in the programs: details are included to inform the audience on African American slave (see October 8, 1907), Native American (see November 21-23, 1907), and Hawaiian culture (see October 25, 1907).

The last folder in this collection contains the correspondence and newspaper clippings file of donor, Dorothy Clark. The letters and articles include subject matter about the opera house. A slide transparency for "The Lucky Horse Shoe" is also a part of this file, but this item has not been fully identified or connected to the Grand Opera House.

For related material, see Opera House Scrapbook (OV 107), Opera Houses and Theaters of Terre Haute
(Accession #971031B-), Community Archives Photograph Collection (Photo #H56).

Document Case





Folder 1


Bernhard Listemann
String Quartet

Feb. 28, 1898




Folder 2

Souvenir program:

Wabash Cycling
Club Minstrels

April 23, 1901




Folder 3


 "Mary of Magdala"

March 19, 1903




Folder 4


"The Candy Kid"

Aug. 27-28, 1907



"Panhandle Pete"

Aug. 29-31, 1907




Sept. 1, 1907







"The Great Eastern World"

Sept. 2-4, 1907



"The Flaming Arrow"

Sept. 5-7, 1907







"His Last Dollar"

Sept. 8, 1907



"Kate Barton's


Sept 10-11, 1907



"Uncle Tom's Cabin"

Sept 12-14, 1907


Folder 5


"The Sunny Side of Broadway"

Sept. 15, 1907



"The Lion and the Mouse"

Sept 16-18, 1907



"The Cowboy Girl"

Sept 19-21, 1907








Sept 22-23, 1907



"James Boys"

Sept. 25, 1907



"The King and Queen of Gamblers"

Sept 26-28, 1907







"Her Sister"
**with Ethel Barrymore

Oct. 7, 1907



"Bandanna Land"

Oct. 8, 1907



"A Soldier of the Cross"

Oct. 9, 1907


Folder 6


"Mrs. Wiggs of the
Cabbage Patch"

Oct. 10, 1907



"The Hidden Hand"

Oct 11-12, 1907



"The Wizard of Oz"

Oct. 13, 1907











"The Grand Mogul"

Oct. 25, 1907



"The Hypocrites"

Oct. 26, 1907







"The Ham Tree"

Nov. 15, 1907



"The Chorus Lady"

Nov. 16, 1907



"Buster Brown"

Nov. 17, 1907





Folder 7 Program: "The Orchid"
**with Eddie Foy
Nov. 18, 1907
    "At Cripple Creek" Nov. 19, 1907
    "The Land of Dollars" Nov. 20, 1907
  Program "King of the Wild West"
**Native Americans from Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota are in the cast.
Nov 21-23, 1907
    "Brewster's Millions" Nov. 24, 1907
  Program: "Happyland" Nov. 25, 1907
    "Tempest and Sunshine" Nov. 26-27, 1907
Folder 8 Program: "Cupid at Vassar" Dec. 4, 1907
    "Little Heroes of the Street" Dec. 5-7, 1907
    "The Awakening of Mr. Pipp" Dec. 8, 1907
  Program: "The Spring Chicken" Dec. 9, 1907
    "The Red Mill" Dec. 10, 1907
  Program: "A Yankee Tourist"
**with Wallace T. Beery
Dec. 21, 1907
    "No Mother to Guide Her" Dec 22-24, 1907
Folder 9 Program: "The Rivals" Dec. 30, 1907
    Concert of Francis MacMillen Dec. 31, 1907
    "The Time, the Place and the Girl" Jan. 1, 1908
  Program "Wine, Woman and Song" Jan. 2-4, 1908
    "Under Southern Skies" Jan. 5, 1908
    "Busy Izzy's Boodle" Jan. 7, 1908
  Program: "An Old Sweetheart of Mine" Jan. 9-11, 1908
    "Just Out of College" Jan. 12, 1908
Folder 10 Program: "Peggy Machree" Jan. 20, 1908
    "The Girl Question" Jan. 21-22, 1908
  Program: "Our New Minister" Jan. 24-25, 1908
    "Not Yet But Soon" Jan. 26, 1908
  Program: "Marrying Mary" Feb. 3, 1908
    "The Man of the Hour" Feb. 4-6, 1908
    "Texas" Feb. 7-8, 1908
Folder 11 Program: "The Old Homestead" March 12, 1908
    "Human Hearts" March 13-14, 1908
    "The Cowboy and the Girl" March 15, 1908
  Program: "Classmates" March 16-17, 1908
  Program: "The Girl Question" March 29, 1908
    "The Road to Yesterday" March 30, 1908
  Program: "A Knight for a Day"
**with Gertrude Lawrence
April 25-26,1908
**with Lillian Russell
April 30, 1908
Folder 12 Program: "Tempest and Sunshine" Sept. 6, 1908
    "The Spirit of Paul Doon" Sept. 7-9, 1908
    "Man's Work" Sept. 10, 1908
  Program: "Capt. Clay of Missouri" Sept. 23, 1908
    "The Rocky Mountain Express Sept. 24-26, 1908
Folder 13 Program: "Three Twins" Oct. 11-12, 1908
    "The Merry-Go-Round" Oct. 14, 1908
    "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Oct. 15-17, 1908
  Program: "The Wolf" Nov. 2-3, 1908
    Lew Dockstader and Minstrels
**with Al Jolson
Nov. 5, 1908
  Grand Opera House Ticket Nov. 5, 1908
  Program: "Jane Eyre" Nov. 6-7, 1908
    "Busy Izzy's Boodle" Nov. 8, 1908
    "A Waltz Dream" Nov. 11, 1908
Folder 14 Program: "The Wolf Nov. 13-14,1908
    "The Promoters" Nov. 15, 1908
    "The Devil" Nov. 16-17, 1908
    "The Awakening of Mr. Pipp" Nov. 18, 1908
  Program: "Cameo Kirby" Nov. 24, 1908
    "Othello" Nov. 25, 1908
    "Al G. Field Greater Minstrels Nov. 26, 1908
    "Polly of the Circus" Nov. 27-28, 1908
  Program: "At the Old Cross Roads" Dec. 13, 1908
    "The Talk of New York" Dec. 14, 1908
    "The Yankee Prince"
**with George M. Cohan and Donald Crisp
Dec. 15, 1908
    "Three Twins" Dec. 17, 1908
    "The Witching Hour" Dec. 18-19, 1908
Folder 15 Program: "It's Never Too Late to Mend" Jan. 17, 1909
    "The Right of Way" Jan. 21, 1909
    "Under the Greenwood Tree" Jan. 23, 1909
    "Too Many Wives" Jan. 24, 1909
  Program: "A Knight for a Day" Jan. 28, 1909
    "McFadden's Flats" Jan. 31, 1909
    "The Servant in the House" Feb. 3-4, 1909
Folder 16 Program: "The Merry Widow" Feb. 5-6, 1909
    "The Honeymooners" Feb. 7, 1909
    "Married for Money" Feb. 8, 1909
  Program: "Mary's Lamb" Feb. 10, 1909
    "When We Were Friends" Feb. 11-12, 1909
    "The Girl Question" Feb. 13-14, 1909
    "The Top O' Th' World" Feb. 15, 1909
Folder 17 Program: "The Golden Age of Comedy" (film) "Introduction of Honored Guests" by Mrs. Hamilton Coleman Sept. 21, 1959
    "An Interlude of Memorable Moments" by Hon. William P. Allyn  

"The Twelve Pound Look"
(play presented by Community Theatre of Terre Haute)

    (This is the special program for the dinner and final performance
to mark the closing of the Grand Theatre--2 copies)
Folder 18 Correspondence and newspaper clippings file
of Dorothy Clark