(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David on Tuesday announced placement of a historic marker at the Stone Opera House, commemorating the 120th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to Binghamton and speech at the venue in 1900.
“The Stone Opera House is among the most architecturally and historically significant buildings in downtown Binghamton,” said Mayor David. “This marker will not only designate a site with deep connections to our past, but also highlight the potential for a transformative historic rehabilitation opportunity at this building. We must recognize, promote and save our local history.”
The City received the historic marker for the Stone Opera House through the William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s New York State Historic Marker Grant Program. The program commemorates historic people, places, things and events within the timeframe of 1740 to 1920.
“The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is pleased to award the City of Binghamton one of our New York State historic marker grants to commemorate the Stone Opera House and its storied past,” said Deryn Pomeroy, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Pomeroy Foundation. “As a prominent venue in the city’s downtown, the theater welcomed many acclaimed musicians and entertainers – and even President Theodore Roosevelt. This new roadside marker will help to illuminate that significant history.”
Built in 1892, the Stone Opera House at 33 Chenango St. was named for its builder Charles M. Stone and designed by famed Binghamton architects Isaac G. Perry and Sanford O. Lacey. The theater originally seated 1,500 and featured Italian renaissance interior styling. In the early 20th century, many famous stage actors performed at the Stone Opera House.
On Oct. 27, 1900, Roosevelt, then governor of New York State, made a campaign stop and speeches at the Stone Opera House as the vice presidential running mate of President William McKinley. Less than a year later, Roosevelt would become the 26th U.S. president following McKinley’s assassination in Buffalo on Sept. 14, 1901.
“I can say I am much pleased with the way I have been received in the Southern Tier, and especially in Binghamton,” said Roosevelt, according to a New York Herald report of his visit.
After closing in 1978, the vacant theater has experienced significant deterioration.
In 2019, the City of Binghamton secured a $75,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to support historic structural report for the Stone Opera House and adjecent Strand Theater.
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