The Utica Opera House, at Lafayette and Washington Streets in downtown Utica, was the site of five lectures by famed agnostic orator Robert Green Ingersoll and a lecture on woman suffrage by Susan B. Anthony.
Ingersoll Lectures. On Wednesday, November 14, 1877, Ingersoll delivered "The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child," one of his most popular patriotic lectures, at the Utica Opera House
On February 20, 1878, he presented "Ghosts," one of his most popular and controversial lectures critical of Christianity. Local news accounts reported that 1,000 persons attended, equivalent to the structure's seating capacity.
Ingersoll lectured on three later occasions at this facility: on October 30, 1878, when he delivered his literary lecture on Robert Burns; on January 19, 1885, performing "Orthodoxy," a controversial lecture on religion; and on May 2, 1894, when he presented an oration in tribute to Abraham Lincoln.
Lecture by Susan B. Anthony. On Thursday, April 19, 1894, suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony lectured at the Opera House. She thundered, “Women of Oneida County, you are paid less then men doing the same job as you because you do not have the ballot. You are denied the right to a voice in government because you do not have the ballot. What you have is a whole white male aristocracy.”
The Building and Site. The date of the building's demolition is unknown. The site now serves as the parking area for the Hotel Utica (erected 1912), now a DoubleTree Hotel.