The New Opera House was the second Opera House in Sodus and opened in 1906. Located on Main Street where the Chinese Restaurant is now, this Opera House could comfortably hold 900 people in its main floor and balcony seating. It replaced the earlier original Opera House:
to accommodate larger crowds in Sodus. Opening night was on January 22, 1906 with the play “The Arrival of Kitty” being performed. It cannot be overstated how important this event was to Sodus. The January 26, 1906 Sodus Record ran a full front page to the coverage of the New Opera House:
Over the next 34 years, many plays and events would be held here. Here is an ad for a new play “The Lion and the Mouse” that ran in the Oct. 18th , 1912 edition of the Sodus Record:
From this ad we see what the prices were for performances and also the fact that the Rochester and Sodus Bay Railroad would have special trolley runs for the performances.
Possibly the most important event held at the New Opera House would occur in October 1914 when Teddy Roosevelt gave a rousing speech for the progressive candidate for governor in the 1914 election:
By blowing up this photo, we can see that at the time of Teddy Roosevelt’s visit, the New Opera House was playing “Peg of my Heart” which had come out the previous year:
By 1940, Opera Houses were no longer able to compete with movie theaters. In that year, the New Opera House converted to the Sodus Theatre and the end of an era brought forth a new one.
The beginning of a new era. The Sodus Arcade theater in the 1940s and 1950s. Photos courtesy of Sandi Hamilton.