Sterling Opera House archive


Before it closed its doors in 1966, the Sterling Opera House featured some of the country’s biggest names from numerous avenues of entertainment. Among those who performed there are famous character actor Lionel Barrymore (above left) and esacpe artist Harry Houdini (above right). Other notable figures at the Sterling Opera House included boxing legend and ex-heavyweight champion of the late 19th century John L. Sullivan (below left), who tried his hand at acting when he was cast as Simon Legree in an early stage production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Famed film director D.W. Griffith (below center) premiered his epic film The Birth of a Nation at the Sterling Opera House in 1915 and would go on to further use the location for private screenings of several other films he directed before their general release. Amelia Earhart (below right) addressed the local Women’s Club here on March 16, 1936, about one year before she vanished in her attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world.