Historic Schieffelin Hall
The Tombstone Repertory Company would like to Thank Don Taylor, and the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park for the following information.
Upon its completion on June 8, 1881 Schieffelin Hall became the largest, most elaborate theater between El Paso, Texas and San Francisco, California. Albert Schieffelin and William Harwood conceived and constructed what they envisioned to be a “first class opera house” for the citizens of Tombstone. The main entrance was on Fourth Street, while a private entrance ran through the south side of the building to Fremont Street. It had a seating capacity of 450 on the parquet, and a gallery capacity of 125. The Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper said, “From the top to bottom it is by far the most complete edifice of the kind in the Territory. The drop curtain is a Colorado scene and is a work of art.” This building became the hub of entertainment and social events in Tombstone. The Irish Land League held the first ball here on June 17, 1881, and it was attended by “the elite of Tombstone society.” The first play was staged on September 15, 1881. It was Tom Taylor’s five-act drama, “The Ticket-of-Leave Man.” Schieffelin Hall has also been the home to the King Solomon Lodge #5, one of the five founding Masonic lodges in Arizona. Today, the hall is primarily used for City Council meetings. However, Schieffelin Hall is still used for local social gatherings, fundraisers and theatric performances. This building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Schieffelin Hall avoided the fire of 1882. It has survived the peaks and valleys of the tumultuous mining era, as well as years of the southeastern Arizona climate to become one of the City’s most historic buildings.
“Books for the Opera.” “Carriages May Be Ordered at 10:30!”
We had the pleasure yesterday of inspecting the plans of the new building which is shortly to adorn the corner of Fremont and Fourth. At last the great want of the city is to be supplied. The contemplated structure when completed will be the finest edifice in Arizona and that portion appropriated for the theater will contain an auditorium with a seating capacity of nearly 600 people. Briefly summarizing the main details of the building: It will be constructed in the form of a broad H, with a frontage on Fremont street of fifty-nine feet and on Fourth of 119. The first stay on Fremont street will be fourteen feet high in the clear, have a depth of thirty feet and will be glass front, over which will be a Masonic Hall, 27x41 feet, with three ante-rooms, 4x13, 6x13 and 13x14 feet and having a height of sixteen feet. Eleven posts of 8x16 timbers, fourteen feet in length starting from an 8x16 mud sill, fifty-nine feet in length, will support a cap 8x16 and fifty-nine feet long, upon which will rest an adobe wall sixteen inches thick, the total height of this part of the structure being forty feet. In the center of this front will be a 12-foot hallway thirty feet in length, being the main entrance to the theater, the auditorium of which will be exactly in the center of the two lots, that portion of the building devoted to the stage 30x59 feet, on the rear of the two lots corresponding in dimensions with Fremont street frontage, and having a main entrance on Fourth street, while a private entrance will run through the south side of the building to Fremont street. The central fifty-nine feet of Fourth street front will be divided in to four offices, one story high, corresponding with the hallway on the south side, above which on each side will be four windows lighting the auditorium. This is to be 39x59 feet, twenty-four inches thick all the way up, with a seating capacity in the parquet of 450, and a gallery capacity of 125. Curtain width of stage, twenty-four feet; height twenty-one feet; scenery, sixteen feet in the clear. The walls will all be capped with two-inch plank, supported by a strongly-trussed iron roof with an eight-foot pitch and handsomely corniced….
Schieffelin Hall is now completed and ready for occupancy. From the top to bottom it is by far the most complete edifice of the kind in the Territory. The drop curtain is a Colorado scene and is a work of art.
Tombstone Epitaph June 8, 1881