4 Responses to “The Athenaeum – Jackson, Michigan”

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  1. Do you have any information on the Mosher Opera House which once existed above the building in which Schupbach’s Sporting Goods now occupies, Jackson, MI? It was named after Benjamin G. Mosher who served as mayor of Jackson, Democrat, elected 1872 and again in 1874.

  2. Terrence Hall

    I, too, am interested in details about the Mosher Opera House. Ben Mosher was a contractor, I believe, who built one of the historic churches on Jackson Ave (possibly St. Paul’s Episcopal) and was involved in the building of the capitol building in Lansing. I understand that the road from Jackson to Lansing consisted in certain places of wooden planking. He was an ancestor on my mother’s side, and we have 8-10 of the wooden chairs which were used by the audience. They had woven cane seats, and currently are stored at my parents’ home in Jackson. The Moshers lived in a large Victorian home which still, I believe, sits atop a hill on Steward Ave near Ganson. It had been used as a nursing home in the mid 20th century. Would appreciate hearing from you if you have further information.

  3. Terrence Hall

    P.S. I live in Oakland County, but get to Jackson on occasion when visiting family. I can be reached at tlhallatty@usa.net

  4. Kevin Peshick

    Terrence, Hello. Thank you for your comment. I have very little information on the Mosher Opera House. I looked at all of the theatrical guides I have (guides put out by the profession to tell traveling theatre groups about the different theaters) and none of them mention the Mosher in Jackson. Of course that may be because the earliest guide I have is from 1884 and I suspect that the Mosher fell out of use when Hibbard’s was opened in 1882. What little information I have comes from a letter dated April 21, 1975 that was written by Kathryn E. Frank of the Jackson Public Library to Dr. J. Alan Hammack at CMU. In her letter she states that “the Mosher opera house was built circa 1873″ and she also states that it was called the Academy of Music. Academies of Music were not uncommon names of opera houses back then. I don’t know if that was a formal name change or just what they were calling the Mosher. She also stated that, and keep in mind she was writing in 1975, “The Mosher Opera House still stands on Pearl Street. It houses business or industry..once was/home of Salvation Army.” I don’t know if the building still stands today and I also do not have the exact street address on Pearl Street. I’m sure more could be determined about the Mosher from newspaper accounts of the period, but it would take some time in front of a microfilm machine (and some Dramamine as those things give me motion sickness!) Of course as more newspapers get digitized access will be easier.

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