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Cottrill Opera House

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1902, Holmboe and Lafferty. 1990s, Tracy R. Stephens. Southeast side of East Ave. (Front St.) between 2nd and 3rd sts.

The opera house is at the center of a solid brick commercial block that postdates the 1901 fire and provides a startling contrast to the opposite side of the street: a wooded world of spruce trees and hardwoods and the Blackwater River below. The street level of the prominent structure once contained commercial spaces, including a saloon. Above the first-floor hubbub, three arched windows, two stories tall, are centered between end bays firmly delineated by brick quoins. The top of the facade was stuccoed after being damaged in a 1940 storm, and it presents an altogether unfinished look. Although the interior has been altered, pressed tin ceilings and cornices with recessed lighting fixtures remain.

Hiram Cottrill, proprietor, came to Thomas c. 1887 and became a mine superintendent for the Davis interests before launching a career as an impresario. The theater closed in the 1970s, but it is currently undergoing a long-term restoration.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Cottrill Opera House", [Thomas, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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