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Smyrna Opera House and Old Town Hall

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1869, Richard Mitchell. 1886 wing. 1998–2002 restored and addition, Cooperson Associates. South and S. Main sts.
  • Smyrna Opera House and Old Town Hall (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Smyrna Opera House and Town Hall (W. Barksdale Maynard)

Constructed quickly, this brick facility fulfilled a longstanding dream of the citizenry. On the first floor, it housed a town commissioners' room and library, jail, and engine house; a meeting hall above; and Masonic Lodge within the mansard roofed top floor. Abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass spoke here in 1880 and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan in 1900. An addition in 1886 housed the engine room of Citizens Hose Company No. 1, with a stage for the hall above (a hall now called the Opera House). Fire destroyed the upper floor and tower on Christmas Day, 1948. Decades later, architect Jay N. Cooperson restored the building with its tall second floor windows, adding a mansard roof and a central tower with a cupola based on the original. A four-story brick addition features a glass-fronted stair tower.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Smyrna Opera House and Old Town Hall", [Smyrna, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 229-229.

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