Playbill for a coming attraction in 1888 at the Andersen Opera House.
Playbill for a coming attraction in 1888 at the Andersen Opera House.
Settled in 1855, Spring Valley was entertaining big time by 1888, especially at Hans Andersen's new opera house on Section Avenue. As a young Danish carpenter and builder, Andersen came to town in the early 1870s to establish a lumberyard. His landmark buildings included the 1876 Methodist-Episcopal Church, now on the National Register, the 1878 brick Catholic Church on West High Street, and the opera house, built in 1885.

The "burying ground on the hill" had been established in 1861, originally just four acres; later ten more acres were added. The playbill shown here was a fundraiser for the cemetery, and what an event it would be! The "great vocal exposition" was couched in old-fashioned terms that were sometimes difficult to decipher. The doors were to open at "early candlelight," 7 p.m., and music would commence by half past. Admission was three shillings (?) for adults, and under 12, only two shillings; if one wanted a reserved seat, one extra shilling. For the benefit of all patrons it was noted there would be moonshine, so no need for lanterns to guide them home; single "menne and maydens must occupy separate chairs" (?); all "sparking" on the part of beaus and belles would be dispensed with, unless moved beyond measure so they couldn't contain themselves. (Figure that one out.) Undue levity and sparking would be noted by the president of the assembly. Mothers of small children were encouraged to bring peppermints to soothe them, but if crying obstreperously, to place them under the seats. We assume all the "instructions" included on the playbill were tongue-in-cheek and meant for amusement.

Each sponsor of the event was dutifully listed on the reverse side, in humorous terms if possible. The best pork per shilling was available at the meat counters of Gahagen, Yarnes and Hughes. Matrons and maids wishing beautiful clothing should contact dressmakers Burleson, Dougherty, Gammel, Livingston and Parkhurst. Newfangled cookstoves that burned only oil or gas could be found at hardware merchants Flower, Thayer, and Lobdill. No matter how big your foot, footwear was kept in stock by J.B. Viall and L. Bar. To cure all ills, see doctors Moore, Belden, Johnson or Thornhill. Gents' folderol and fine flaxen garments - see Lee or Leuthold. General stores had something of everything: Hoxie, Hipes, Payne, Halbkat or Molstad. To save you from a debtor, jailer or the gallows, see lawyers Farmer & Allen, Burleson, Holmes, Thayer, Tolmie, or Smith. For adornments in gold and silver or eyeglasses, see jewelers Mann, Warren & Hoard. Financial affairs were conducted with bankers Strong, Farmer, Edwards. Pleasant millinery to delight the ladies? Broxholm, Taylor or Smith. They also had cheap geegaws for only a few shillings.

Young barbers Lupien and Culbertson not only cut hair and curled locks, but also could dye mustaches using stuff that "would not come off on ye maiden's face." Kalb and Huntley drug shops had all kinds of medicine, plus sweet smelling water for kerchiefs. Stevens and Schofield were available to "immortalize faces" at their photography shops. Setting up housekeeping? Furniture at Minott or Horn & Shutt; they also made coffins. Want to trade your money for a smoke? Stop by Sattler's Cigar Factory.

Business place names went on and on. Groceries and baked goods: Schrauts, Sturdivant, Avery and Washburn; oysters and hot lunch at Edgertons; hire a chaise for sparking from Hendershott and Hipes; Renslow and Benson were cobblers; minding the hotels were Belden, Knight and Hart. We had one dentist, Nutting; breeches and waistcoats might come from Avelsgard the tailor. We could find sleighbells and harnesses at Sullivan, Lawrence and Sherman establishments, also wedding trunks. Lumbermen were Thayer or Bontecou; builders: Osterud, Lower, Arnold or Pfremmer; farm machinery at Kumm & Rhode or Sheldon & Hande; blacksmithing at Beers, Shell, Raabe or Neill.

Hauling goods about town? call Lloyd, Davidson, Parkhurst; rich milk was to be had from Smith or McClung or Wooden; grain dealers were Graling, Greene, Bartlett; stock buyers: Elliott, Reidel, Rafferty. Rundell & Crain bought eggs; M.J. Viall would grind grain for you; Johnson or Galen could paint buggies or houses or do wallpapering. Mr. Potter made things at the Ironworks; nice wood was available from Mr. Plonty. Village Marshal P. Cusick had farm implements; Cal Huntley drilled wells and sold windmills; and J.C. Lee had all kinds of goods. Krambeer and Rohde also were workers in wood and iron; Mr. Whiting operated a broom factory; Harris and Kirkwood both drilled wells; Mr. Gilbert manned a feed mill; and for all kinds of printing, including wedding cards, see the printer, Adams. With over 100 businesses listed, it seemed Spring Valley was doing extremely well, and almost everyone must have made a living wage since they appeared to prosper.

What might appear puzzliing was who was on the program for the evening? The playbill simply stated, "By Ye Old Folks," so we trust a good time was had by all.

Our thanks to Barbara Schuler who, in 1994, sent the playbill for the historical society files.

Andersen's opera house remained on South Section until the Kummer brothers bought it in 1928 and moved it across the creek (!) and renamed it the Oriole Ball Room. Following a dance in March 1933, it burned to the ground. The Hardscrabble Fur Company is now at that site.