111-119 W. Water Street, Syracuse NY | Unmarked Location
The premier performing arts venue of nineteenth century Syracuse, Wieting Opera House played much the same role in that city as did Corinthian Hall in Rochester.
A building called Wieting Hall was built on this site in 1851 by physician and medical lecturer John Wieting. It was lost to fire in 1856. It was immediately rebuilt as Wieting Opera House, only to burn in 1881. In 1882 it was rebuilt as a theater seating more than 1200; this burned in 1896. It reopened in 1897, having expanded to seat 2,140 persons.
Robert Green Ingersoll gave several lectures here, including a presentation of his popular and controversial lecture "Ghosts" on February 22, 1878. On October 26-27 of that year, Wieting Opera House hosted the second annual national convention of the National Liberal League. In 1883, Matilda Joslyn Gage and her husband attended a performance of the play The Maid of Arran, the first successful play penned by her son-in-law L. Frank Baum. On December 6, 1871, Mark Twain trod the Wieting stage to deliver his lecture "Artemus Ward," a tribute to an earlier American humorist who was among his inspirations.
The site of the Wieting Opera House is now occupied by a nondescript convention venue.