The Arcadia Opera House
The Arcadia Opera house is located in Arcadia, Fl is is a supposedly “haunted” historical landmark. Once a theatre, the house is now home to one of the largest antique collections in the state! After a fire in the early 1900s destroyed most of the area, this building was one of the first to be built.
Backstory and Context
In 1835, there was a cotton mill built in Arcadia, and later, there was a railroad built in the town, which led to even further industrialization of the area. In 1846, the town became home to the Arcadia Manufacturing Company, which brought in even more industrialization and revenue in order for the growing town to prosper. But, in the year 1855, everything seemed to go downhill for Arcadia as a town. The cotton mill was burnt to the ground, causing many slaves to be sold, meaning there weren’t many workers left to run the factories that were still built up. The efforts to rebuild the mill were lost and the land was sold as public property. Now, the land is known as a historical site and is in the National Register of Historic Places (Rucker). The Opera House itself wasn’t built until 1906, “...the year after a 1905 fire destroyed most of Arcadia's downtown, anchors the city's historic district” (Tampa Bay News). This town was built on hardship and struggle, and the Opera House was able to lessen the hurt of the townspeople in some ways. The time in which the town of Arcadia was being built up was a time in which there were slaves, and oppression toward groups of people, but also, great industrial and manufacturing achievement. Although the workers in the factories were not treated right, and many of them were slaves, there were still many improvements and achievements in the field of manufacturing and industry during this time. There was progression in transportation, as many railroads were being built at this time, and there was also new machinery being invented and built to help speed the manufacturing process along.
The Opera House wasn’t built until shortly after this period in time, but it was still greatly affected by these historical revolutions. If such great improvements in manufacturing weren’t made, Arcadia’s economy might not have even survived the fire to be able to build such a beautiful building, that is dedicated to the arts. The priorities of the town’s people had shifted, making the existence of the Arcadia Opera House possible.