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Pocahontas County Opera House celebrates 100th birthday

October 28, 2010
The Inter-Mountain

The Pocahontas County Opera House will celebrate its 100th birthday Nov. 5, with a square dance, an old-time barbecue sandwich dinner and birthday cake.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with barbecue beef sandwiches, baked beans, slaw and drinks. Then, at 8 p.m. Mudhole Control will provide the music for a rollicking square dance sponsored by Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation.

The dinner is $6 per person, while the square dance is $4 at the door.

The first Opera House in Marlinton, known as "The Grand," began showcasing vaudeville acts, dramatic productions and moving picture shows in 1907.

The second and larger Opera House, on Third Avenue, towers above other buildings in town reminding us of the impact of the railroad.

Built in 1910 by J.G. Tilton, the three-story concrete structure boasted a large stage and wrap-around balcony. The glory days of this grand facility were short lived. Tilton, also the publisher of the Marlinton Messenger, ran into financial trouble and the building was sold in 1914. It was used as a car dealership and lumber warehouse for many years.

Fact Box

If you go ...

What: PCOH 100th birthday celebration

When: Nov. 15 beginning at 6 p.m.

Where: The Opera House in Marlinton

Features: Square dance, old-time barbecue dinner, birthday cake, entertainment and more

In 1991, Pocahontas County's Historic Landmarks Commission purchased the Opera House and, with support from the community, worked to transform it from an abandoned and forgotten old building into a beautiful performance space and center for community activities, reopening its doors and bringing performances to its stage once again in 1999.

The century old building is now on the National Register of Historic Places and West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail. Through its annual performance series, it has become the performing arts center of Pocahontas County.

On any given Friday or Saturday night the building is packed with people, who come from far and near to hear the sounds of artists like John McCutcheon, Chris Smither or the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys.

The Opera House hosts a variety of community events, as well, from open jam sessions to family movie nights. The building is also available for private rentals.

Thanks to the continued hard work of dedicated volunteers, and a supportive community, the Opera House is once again the cultural heart of the community.

To learn more about upcoming events at the Opera House, visit or call 304-799-6645.



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