The Croswell Opera House will begin a season-long celebration of its 150th anniversary on Saturday with an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Although the Croswell will be marking its 150th birthday with events throughout the year, Saturday is the anniversary of the first-ever public event held in the theater, which at the time was called Adrian Union Hall.
The first event was a speech by temperance lecturer John Bartholomew Gough, who spent most of his life traveling the world urging listeners to abstain from liquor. He spoke many times at the Croswell and had the distinction of inaugurating the hall on March 19, 1866.
The Croswell’s earliest days are chronicled in the papers of Charles Cleveland, a local grocer who kept a detailed account of daily events in Adrian for much of his life. On Tuesday, March 13, he wrote: “John B. Gough will lecture on Monday night next in the new Union Hall — this being the first lecture or entertainment held in this Hall.”
Although Union Hall was opened to the public in March 1866, work actually continued throughout the year. Even as late as October, the interior was still being painted.
Saturday’s open house will include birthday cake, tours of the building, and a chance for visitors to learn more about the earliest days of the Croswell.
More events being planned to celebrate the Croswell’s 150th include The Great Big Night, the theater’s annual fundraising gala on June 11, and a show titled “150 Years at the Croswell” that will be staged Sept. 17-25.