A History of the Historic Fischer Theatre
The Fischer Theatre was originally built in 1884 as The Grand Opera House. The Grand Opening feature, held on November 5, 1884 was the Emma Abbott Grand English Opera Company presenting “King for a Day,” beginning the theater’s rich performing arts history. Live theatrical and musical performances were the primary focus through the Vaudeville era. However, The first movie held at the theatre was shown as early as 1889 by the International Cinegraph Company of New York. It was the Fitzsimmons-Jeffries fight held earlier in the year on June 9 at Coney Island. Later, in 1929, “state of the art” motion picture equipment was added, solidifying the theater’s role in the coming decades as a movie theater as well.
In 1912 ownership of the Grand Opera House transitioned to Mr. Louis F. Fischer. After much renovation and investment, the grand opening of the “new” Fischer Theatre took place in March of 1913, and we have known the Lady by that name ever since. Following a storied history, and through almost 100 years of operation in the community, the doors of the theater were eventually closed in 1981. This brought us to what was until very recently feared to be the last chapter in the theater’s story.
But together and since 1983, our community and a cast of hundreds if not thousands of volunteers and donors carried on fundraising efforts to restore the theater and return it back to its hopeful place as a performing arts center in the heart of our community. From the efforts of Gene Hackman, Jerry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke, Donold O’Connor and Bobby Short raising funds together on stage to friends and neighbors bagging groceries for donations, the decades still rolled by without much progress. That is until the generosity of a beloved local philanthropist, Mr. Julius Hegeler II, made our community’s dream a reality. With Mr. Hegeler’s vision and determination, and the skilled craftsmen who took up the project, the Fischer Theatre is open once again to our community.
The Lady waits no longer.