Sunday, June 12, 2011
Jacobson Opera House
Jacobson Opera House – The Jacobson Opera House was built by Martin Jacobson, known as “The Hardware Man”. The Opera House had a capacity of 800 people with a stage that was 30 feet by 50 feet. The Opera House was built in 1902 at a cost of $30,000. The grand opening was on January 5, 1903. The opening play was “The Count of Monte Crisco” attended by over 600 people. Box seats were auctioned off, the highest price paid was $55.00. A note about the curtain on the stage. It contained advertisements and when the show began the curtain was rolled up. The Opera House had the reputation of “the finest west of St Paul”. It was also the home to town meetings, political rallies, dances, parties, school events and other public events. The Opera House was on the third floor of the Jacobson Building. In 1920, the Opera House was used as the Scottish Rote Temple for the Masons. The Opera House was destroyed by a fire in 1923 and was never rebuilt. The first Opera House was on the northeast corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. In the late 60’s the building was the home of the USO and it is now the home of the Taube Museum of Art. The Jacobson Opera House was host to many traveling theater companies in the early days of Minot. One of those theatrical companies was the Harry St. Clair Company. This group had an actor with them that would one day become famous. That actor was Boris Karloff, best known later in his career for the horror movies he starred in. Karloff spent 60 weeks in Minot back about 1915 when he was acting with the Harry St. Clair Company. They were performing at the Opera House and would have stayed longer but according to Karloff, they ran out of plays. Probably not many people are aware of the fact that Boris Karloff was a life member of the Minot Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented to him in 1957 by J. Warren Bacon of Minot at the television showing of “This is Your Life”, about Boris Karloff. A side note, Bacon, then 12 years old often ran errands for Boris Karloff. Bacon’s father was the manager of the Opera House at the time. The pictures are of the Opera House before and after the fire of 1923.