Did you know Goodland had two opera houses? The first opera house was located on West 10th Street between Sherman and Center Streets and went by the name of the Goodland Opera House and later, the Walker Opera House. It was owned and operated by W.P.K. Hedrick and was first opened on April 6, 1889. One of the favorite shows to play was “Drummer Boy of Shilo” which drew in huge crowds. Not only was it the opera house, but also the community center. Social activities would take place in the opera house until 1906 when a new building was built on 10th and Main Streets. The original building fell in disuse for a few years. It was not until 1909 when the Crystal Theater took up the building that it started to see more use. In 1914 however, the theater moved and left the building empty, it was then destroyed by fire in the 1930’s.
The second opera house, built in 1906, was owned and operated by F.B. Hodgkinson and was named the Grand Opera House, but mostly known as the Hodgkinson’s Opera House. On opening night “Nature’s Nobleman” was performed by the Kerkhoff-Hillman Company. Perhaps the most famous actor to perform on the Goodland Opera House’s stage was Milburn Stone, who would later become Doc on the show “Gunsmoke.” The picture on the left shows the cast of an opera house production. Much like the first building, this opera house was not only an opera house. It was used for roller skating, dancing and social activities for the community. The building still stands today but has been remodeled and is a business today.