What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

Marlin's Opera House

By Lee Hammer

The Marlin Opera House was built in 1883 by Colonel S.J. Marlin. The Marlin Opera House was originated during the Victorian Age. Most theaters in the 18th Century were built near railroads to make them readily accessible to touring companies. At the time of its opening the Marlin Opera House had eight sets of scenery, which were painted by the artist, W.W. Wise of Philadelphia. The scenes were said to be as beautiful and natural as a perfect picture could be. The new building in Brookville was the largest in town at the time with the measurements being 90 feet by 116 feet. There were three seating divisions at the Opera House: the Parquet, the Parquet Circle and the Family Circle which was known as the balcony. Each section could hold 300 people.

The entire hall was lit by gas lights. There were 110 burners in all. The piping of the gas was arranged in such a manner that the entire system could be controlled by one person backstage.

Colonel Marlin died in 1889, less than three years after the premiere of the Marlin Opera House. It is not known who managed the hall after his death. In October 1901, it was reported the Opera House was permanently close, and has stayed vacant for more than 70 years.

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