The Reed Opera House was built by Cyrus A. Reed on the southwest corner of Liberty & Court streets in Salem, Oregon, in 1868. The twenty-five-year-old Reed bypassed the gold fields of California and landed at Astoria, Oregon, in 1850. Within two years he had a farm near Salem and was on his way to become a businessman, legislator and artist. The opera house was designed with seven shops on the ground floor, offices for the State Supreme Court and State Library on the 2nd and 3rd floors, with the opera house proper in the center of the building. It could accommodate fifteen hundred people - about a fourth of the city's population at the time. The architect was G.W. Rhodes. When the Odd Fellows Hall & Grand Opera House was built in 1900, the auditorium space was converted to Joseph Myers and Sons store, and in 1902 a smaller store was built to the left of this building; in 1936 the Montgomery Ward Company added yet a third building to make it what is presently known as the Reed Opera House Mall. The Inaugural Ball for Governor Grover was held at the opera house in 1870 as was a great banquet in 1872 to celebrate the legislative appropriation for construction of the new state capitol. Week in and week out during the 1870-1900 years plays, minstrel shows and vaudeville performances were held during the theater "season". Reed suffered financial losses though and E.P. McCormack took over the opera house, finally closing it in April 1900. In 1920 Miller's department store took over the Myers store and later the entire building. The building seen in the picture is now a complex of many small shops and restaurants. The Reed Opera House & McCormack Block Addition was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Salem, Oregon; buildings; Reed Opera House; Miller's department store; Reed, Cyrus A.