View of the Past – September 13, 2017

This week’s view is of the cornerstone laying of the Taylor Opera House on Sept. 15, 1908.  Still standing at 220 E. State in O’Fallon, the Opera House was built by merchant, coal mine owner and one-time O’Fallon Mayor (1909-11) Joseph Taylor.  The building’s life as a theater lasted from its opening in December 1908 to its closing in March 1940.  It hosted a variety of entertainment including plays, vaudeville and motion pictures.  Not to mention graduations, lectures, rallies and anything needing a stage or an auditorium.  In the photo, the cornerstone laying is being witnessed by Joseph Taylor (white hat, black suit) standing to the right of his wife, Mary.  She died New Year’s Day 1909, just four days after the grand opening of the theater.

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society.)

For more, stop by the O’Fallon Historical Museum, located at 101 West State Street. The Museum is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and by appointment.