Boonville, MO

The historical Thespian Hall in Boonville, Missouri is a performing arts theater and is over 160 years old

CJ Coombs

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Main Street in Boonville, Missouri.Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Boonville is located in Cooper County, Missouri, and is considered part of the Columbia, Missouri metropolitan area. It's between Kansas City and St. Louis.

In 2015, Smithsonian Magazine listed Boonville as one of 20 best small towns to visit. Boonville, a town that features history related to the Civil War offers other sites to see. If you love to be out in nature and you've heard of the Katy Trail State Park, it runs through Boonville.

One of Boonville's buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 is Thespian Hall which is also known as the Lyric Theater. This building was constructed in the 1850s and celebrates its 165th anniversary this year. It's a brick building containing the Greek-Revival style of architecture that was added to in 1901. The building's construction originally took two years to build.

When Thespian Hall was first built, a reading room was in the basement. The main floor could be used as a theater or lecture hall. The city hall, Masonic lodge, and Odd Fellows hall were on the second floor.

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The Thespian Hall was used as a hospital and barracks during the Civil War.Jerrye and Roy Klotz MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Thespian Hall is one of the properties restored by The Friends of Historic Boonville which also owns the property that originally opened in 1857. It's located on Main Street.

The roots of Thespian Hall go back to 1838 when a remarkable thing happened in the frontier town of Boonville. That year, sixty leading citizens founded an all-male dramatic group called 'The Thespian Society' which enjoyed wide community support that was unique in its day. (Source.)

When the building was used by troops during the Civil War, The Thespian Society no longer existed. At one time in the early 1900s, it was used as an opera house. During the Civil War, it had several uses-- "a military depot, barracks, hospital, and later as a prison."

In 1975, as a gift from the Kemper Foundation of Kansas City, the Friends of Historic Boonville acquired the Thespian Hall which is now a performing arts theatre. It's referenced many times as the oldest theatre west of the Allegheny mountains.

Thank you for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author; 30 years of legal secretarial experience; BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. Thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, truth, non-fiction, reading, history, and travel.

Kansas City, MO
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