The Marlinton Opera House was built by J. C. Tilton in 1910. The structure is 50 feet by 116 feet, and its 25-foot-high walls were constructed entirely of concrete. Light railroad rails were used as reinforcement, making this among the first buildings in West Virginia to use reinforced concrete. Seating was provided on the main floor and a balcony.
The opera house was in use by 1911. In addition to providing a site for traveling shows and Chautauqua presentations, it was used for local dramatic productions, basketball games, high school graduations, church services, a skating rink, and a newspaper office.
The property was sold in 1914 due to default on deeds of trust. Although the Opera House was back in Tilton family ownership by 1916, it did not remain a performance center for long. For most of its existence the building was a car dealership and then a warehouse for a building supply store. The future of the Opera House was in doubt when the property was acquired in 1991 by the Pocahontas County Landmarks Commission to be restored, and it has been returned to use as a performance facility. The Marlinton Opera House (now known as the Pocahontas County Opera House) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2000.
This Article was written by William P. McNeel
Last Revised on October 08, 2010