Then and Now: Once, Dayton had an opera house. Here’s what’s on that site today.

An ornate dome topped the elegant Gebhart’s Opera House when it opened to the public on March 12, 1877.

The decorative facade was crafted out of sheet metal which was “painted a soft cream color and then rough sanded to give the appearance of sandstone,” according to Dayton historian Curt Dalton’s website, Dayton History Books Online.

» PHOTO FEATURE: Then & Now, looking back in Dayton

The opera house, located on Fifth Street, is the subject of this week's update to the popular Then & Now photo feature, which explores past and present views of notable Dayton locations.

The opera house, which originally had seating for 1,200 patrons, changed names over the course of its history.

An ornate dome topped the elegant Gebhart's Opera House when it opened to the public March 12, 1877. In 1906 it was expanded, renamed the Lyric (the era this photograph was taken in), and became a vaudeville house. DAYTON METRO LIBRARY / LUTZENBERGER PICTURE COLLECTION

In 1889, it was renamed Park Theater and was one of the first sites in Dayton to play motion pictures.

In 1906, it was called the Lyric (the era this photograph was taken in) and expanded to become a “high class vaudeville house,” according to Dalton’s narrative.

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The theatre closed its doors in 1968 while under the name Mayfair. The following year, the structure was destroyed in a fire.

Today the Dayton Convention Center is on the site.

» INTO THE PAST: Historic photos of Dayton Convention Center

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