23 – City Hall and Theater Fire


City Hall and Theater – 288 Central Ave across from 5 Hale St

Dover’s City Hall and Opera House burned at this location on August 3, 1933. The first two city halls, located at the corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue (where the Masonic Temple now stands) had also burned, respectively, in 1866 and 1889. The City Hall and Opera house was dedicated December 16, 1891 and cost $250,000 to build. It featured a floor that could rise and fall, a chandelier with 95 electric bulbs, three tiers of boxes with brass rails, velvet curtains with gold fringe, a frescoed ceiling and a cupid mural. The Opera House had a seating capacity of 1,800 and was the largest stage in New Hampshire. Luminaries such as Jason Robards, Alfred Lunt, Shirley Booth and John Philip Sousa’s band graced the stage. The first full length movie shown here was “Birth of a Nation” starring Lillian Gish.

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