TOLEDO BLADE, FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1893.
All about town this morning, now that the old Wheeler opera house is in smoldering ruins, the talk is a new theater. On Change, in the Toledo club, the Boody House and in the leading public places morning gossip took this refrain. Every man who lays the slightest claim to capital is besieged.
“Now is your chance,” has rung in the ears of the Reynolds Bros. All day. But Col. Reynolds only stroked his iron gray mustache and said:
“Well, we’re figuring on a building. A first class theater and a first class hotel will both be built here inside of eighteen months. There will be plenty of people to take up the opera house scheme now.”
Then A.L. Spitzer was seen around the Produce Exchange building early in the day, looking for Jerry Dewey, and so the board of Trade pointed its fingers at him and said again:
“Spitzer, has Dewey in tow. He is going to change his plans, and put a theater in the Spitzer building. “
Some said the Wheeler heirs would rebuild on the old site. This was emphatically denied by Wm. H. Standart, whose wife is an heir of the estate.
“There is no possibility of the Wheeler being rebuilt” he said. “The estate is in the courts now for settlement. Some one else may go ahead and show what Toledo can do toward putting up an opera house.”
So they all turned their attention to Mr. Dewey who is here from Cleveland with a theater scheme working in his brain. They clapped him on the shoulder and winked at him and said: “Now you can go ahead.”
There was no regret at the destruction of the dingy old Wheeler. Condolence confined itself to the financial loss, but not to the loss of the building. That the fire would come sooner or later and possibly create a terrible panic had been discussed last night before the burning of the theater by a number of citizens who to-day are gloating over their remarkable prophetic powers.
An opera house will be built. A mass meeting will be called within a few days in the Produce exchange, when all the citizens of Toledo may go in and present their favourite projects. Whether the result will be the building of a theater to cost from $65,000 to $80,000, or a theater and hotel combined, or something else, will be left for them to decide. They will be asked to take stock and bonds and may reject or choose after deliberating upon all the propositions submitted. Out of the chaos of talk to-day is certain to come a handsome, modern opera house which will reflect credit upon the city and its citizens.
A complaint came to the Blade this morning from engine house No. 6. The firemen claim that ther is so much rubbish and old iron on the city dock that it was almost impossible to place the engine and get the hose into the water. Much time was lost by this reason.
The building occupied by T.D. Parker is owned by Jos. Flynn and is said to have been without insurance, and Allen, the saloonkeeper, had none, it is reported.
Insurance men estimate the entire loss to property owners at over $120,000. Wheeler’s opera house underwriters estimate at $80,000, as per valuation.