DelawareOH365: City Hall & Opera House Historical Marker

As the traffic buzzes along two of Delaware, Ohio’s main arteries on William and Sandusky Streets a historical marker highlights one of Delaware’s first — its City Hall and Opera House.

Delaware City Hall and Opera House

Paying homage to the original Delaware City Hall and Opera House which burned down in 1934. [photo by Toby Boyce]

The original City Hall housed city offices, police, jail, fire house, and even an opera house at the same location along William and Sandusky Street as its current follower. The building was built in 1880 but was not without a lot of negativity. Initial designs called for the building to be built for $22,800 and $10,000 for the land. According to delaware43015.com the final price tag for the building, unaffectionately referred to as the “White Elephant” by locals cost $110,000.

Original Delaware City Hall

Original Delaware City Hall

As so often happens when boundaries are stretched, within 30 years City Hall was in a constant state of disrepair. The world class opera house was too expensive for both patrons and touring acts to earn its keep. In addition, city coffers were struggling with World War I. It appears that the city continued to “pass the buck” on city hall with annual resolutions to do required improvements or sell parts of the opera house appearing on the city docket continually according to Delaware43015.com.

That is until February 24, 1934, when the “White Elephant” turned into a blazing inferno and according to the Delaware Gazette its legendary clock tower collapsed at 3:34 a.m.

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