Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Woodland Opera House

Yolo County August 29, 1993

2 ½ hours and 136 miles south on I-5 from Fort Reading we skip Tehama County since three of its four landmarks were covered on the northbound trip. Then, Glenn County’s two landmarks are passed over, to be seen a year later. And then Colusa County’s two landmarks will wait another two years. Finally, the Caddy pulls into Yolo County and one of its two landmarks, the Woodland Opera House. This four county corridor between Shasta and Sacramento Counties is comparatively quiet, historically speaking, and if you’re thinking of taking up mining, as many folks are in these current days of $1500 an ounce gold, you need not go here.

On this long hot leg to Woodland, ’51 Caddy’s Wonderbar radio brings in KUBA 1600 AM and its fun call letters and oldies perk things up a bit. The car has the optional rear speaker and thoughts of trying to procure an old sixties era vibrasonic (no relation to the Fender amp) reverb speaker to replace it for an ultimate sense of nostalgia come to mind. Other things on the car that were considered options in 1951 in addition to the Wonderbar radio were backup lights, fog lights, turn signals, and electric clock. Things like power steering, power brakes, electric windows, and air conditioning were to come along in later years.

Over 300 touring companies played here at the Woodland Opera House till it closed its doors in 1913, due in part to the rise of movie theatres, and in part to a lawsuit by some nimrod that mistook the loading dock for an exit and broke his keyster. It was restored and reopened in 1989 and thrives to this day, as do its ghost stories. They seem to have settled on a female performer they call the ‘woman in white,’ and even experimented with setting up a guitar for her to play. So, if you can clear the paranormal, tin foil clad, psychic investigators out of the way, you should have a jolly time among the haunted bricks at one the many events held there.

Plaque inscription: NO. 851 WOODLAND OPERA HOUSE - The first opera house to serve the Sacramento Valley was built on this site in 1885. The present structure, built in 1895-96, continues to represent an important center for theatrical arts of that period. Erected by David M. Hershey and incorporating the classic American playhouse interior, it served vast agricultural regions of the Sacramento Valley. Motion picture competition hastened its closing in 1913.
Location: W side of
2nd St
Main St
and Dead Cat Alley, Woodland
Google maps: 38.677775,-121.771871

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