Research Dump: Pike Opera House Fire

The Pike Opera House and Building

Found an interesting thing yesterday while doing research on Cincinnati Publishers in the Victorian Era. The Pike Opera House was the first home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and it set on the block of 4th and Vine in the Queen City of Ohio. Owned by the owner of a local distiller, it was constructed in 1857 to 1859. John Wilkes Booth’s brother was arrested there for his part in planning the assassination of the sixteenth president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln while performing in front of the Prince of Wales, Edward. In 1866 the theater exploded from a gas leak. The explosion damaged several businesses around it including the original offices of the Cincinnati Enquirer destroying the first 25 years of their archives. Amazingly, zero deaths reported. Rebuilt the Opera House reopened in 1868.

On February 26, 1903, the Pike Opera House caught fire once again. One of the worst reported fires the city has ever seen, flames consumed the entire building. A full quarter of the block into downtown was reduced to cinder and ruins. Four buildings burned to destruction, the Pike Building, L.B. Harrison building, American Book Company, and Behren’s Carpenter Shop. The fire heavily damaged four more buildings, as well. The benefactor of the Pike building passed away several years prior to this so the Opera House vanished to the mists of history. On the ruined lot, which sat vacant for a few years, a hotel was built, the Hotel Sinton

The Pike Opera House Fire of 1903

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