Burwell Opera House

105–107 N. Sangamon Avenue.

After an 1883 fire destroyed most of the wood structures on the west side of the 100 block of north Sangamon Avenue, early banker and businessman M.T. Burwell was one of the first to rebuild with brick. The lower floor of the two-story structure housed furniture dealers and undertakers such as W.S. Lamb. The word “Furniture” is still painted in large letters on the second story. The building became a variety store, commonly known as “five and dime” store, first operated by the Wachs and later the Loy families. The upper floor was originally known as Burwell Opera House, which hosted out-of-town variety shows, local talent, and early high school commencement exercises. It later served as the Gibson Masonic Temple from 1926–1983. The building’s first floor currently houses The Store, a variety resale shop.

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