For Several Years It Brought but Small Returns and the Fire was Almost a Relief – Theater Project


There is no regret among the Wheeler heirs that the old opera house is no more. Its value to them has been so limited of late years that the fire came as a relief. The house was heavily encumbered. For many years the expense of repairing, taxes and insurance has been so great as to leave an almost imperceptible margin for the heirs. With the estate now in the courts, and disagreement existing, there is the not the slightest possibility of rebuilding. The heirs will hold a meeting very soon to consider what disposition shall be made of the property.


Mr. Geoffrey Wheeler stated this morning that the location would probably be sold. He said he would be glad to see it disposed of at once.  If everything has been harmonious among the heirs of the estate, a business block would be erected upon the old theater site, he said. But after so long a disagreement, the burning of the building comes very opportunely, and there is prospect of further complications arising through another building.


The lot fronts 80 feet on Monroe street and 120 on St. Clair. Mr. Wheeler said it would probably be held at about $80,000 or $90,000.


Mr. Wheeler thinks it very possible that Whitney & Garwood, of Detroit will consider the building of an opera house here. They have a large capital and would like to get Toledo in their circuit. If they do anything they will begin immediately.


“To make a theater pay here in Toledo,” said Mr. Wheeler, “it must be built in connection with something else. An opera house is idle about five months in the year, and it is necessary to have an income from either offices or a hotel to even it up. If this is done, a theater can be made a good investment in this city. This is a good theater town and there is money in it if properly worked. For a few years we made money on the Wheeler. After a time the repairs each year commenced to eat up the profits.”


Opera-house schemes are growing. The interest has not died out, but increases in strength since the fire.  Col. Reynolds, if no one else comes in first with a materializing project, may build a theater in connection with his proposed hotel. He looks mysterious and says this much.