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Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Scenes from Oconto County Past.
What is left, or what was left until recently, of the old days.
Turner Opera House

no longer standing

 Turner Opera House was at the corner of Adams Street
and Superior Avenue
Photo: Oconto County Reporter

City of Oconto

"Home talent plays were given at the old Music Hall (city of Oconto) and when that place was abandoned by all but the Oconto Lumberman (newspaper) printing office, plays, dances and other inside amusements such as ten pins and bowling, took place at the Turner Opera House..." Oconto County Historian George Hall

The  March 17, 1898  St. Patrick's Day celebration at the
Turner Opera House, Oconto, WI  reflected how the
community pulled  together to  entertain each other.
From the handbill, there was a  
1.  Play:  by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians [A.O.H.], a St Jos. Church benefactor.
2.  Orchestra: Miss Mamie Turner directed an orchestra of 16 ladies from St. Joseph's Catholic Church,
3.  Irish Ballads: by Mrs. I. S. P. Hoeffel and Mrs. [Helen Agnes Lloyd] Matthew Patrick Bellew [dil of Jas. &Cath. [Maroney] Bellew and nephew of John James & Mary Louise [Maroney] Noonan, Sr.
4.  Quartette: by Misses  L. O'Keefe,  M. and L. Megan and Francis Herald [dau. of John & Catherine [Nevin] Herald

Surnames of the performer's  included:
Bellew, Davis, Herald, Hoeffel,  Kelley,
Meeuwesen, O'Keefe, O'Keliher, Sullivan
 Ruez, Urwan,  and Turner.

by  Mary Beth [Noonan] Jensen 
                   Aug 2010

      Turner Opera House turns Knitting Mill,

          researched and written by:  Mary Beth [Noonan] Jensen 
                                               August 2010

Having served the community for years with lively entertainment, The Turner Opera House in 1913 was enthusiastically bought by subscribers to be then sold to factory owners to encourage them to relocate to Oconto.

No doubt they had high hopes it would provide  jobs and  business in Oconto.

 Several citizens guaranteed obligations for $3,500 for the benefit of the whole.

 By doing they would attempt to get the city to go along with this transaction but felt compelled in the meantime to act immediately to get the deal done. 
Some of the 1913 investors [as listed in a later lawsuit]  were ...
     George Ansorge            Chas. A. Best     
     J. B. Chase                      W. M. Comstock              Harley R. Grandall
     L. C. Harvey                     H. F. Jones                      
     Anton M. Martineau       D. H. Mooney,   et al     [partial list from appeals court report]

[The Oconto Chamber of Commerce became this committee's Assignee for the 1921 Supreme Court of Wisconsin appeals  versus  Harley R.  Grandall.]

Oconto Mayors during this time period  [1913-1921] were:
     1908-1913  A. J. Caldwell
    1914-1917  Matt P. Bellew   [wf, Helen Agnes Lloyd; nephew of John & Mary L. Maroney Noonan]
    1918-1925  J. B. Chase

 However,  when an extra  $5,000 obligation was incurred outside of the original $3,500,  Harley Grandall
took issue.  In the first lawsuit against Harley to get him to pay, he "lost" and was told to pay up his share of $80.

 Harley appealed to the Supreme Court of WI and in 1921  won on the basis that there was no written
agreement authorizing the extra $5,000 to remodel the opera house into a factory [namely, Marinette Knitting Mills Company]. 

excerpt from:
The Northwestern reporter, Volume 185, p. 544-546
 By Iowa. Supreme Court, Michigan. Supreme Court, Minnesota. Supreme Court, Nebraska. Supreme Court, North Dakota...Wisconsin...
"Oconto, Wis., June 9, 1913.
"Whereas, H. F. Jones, D. H. Mooney, J. B. Chase, A. M. Martineau, Chas. A. Best, L. C. Harvey, George Ansorge and W. M. Comstock are about to become obligated for the purchase price of a building and site in Oconto, Wisconsin, to be given to a corporation for factory purposes at the end of five years' time providing said corporation operates said factory pursuant to the terms  of a contract to be entered into with said manufacturing corporation; and 
   "Whereas,  it is understood that an effort shall be made to get the city of Oconto, Wisconsin, to supply the necessary funds; and
  "Whereas, it is necessary in order that the factory be obtained for this city to act immediately:
    "Therefore we, the undersigned, hereby guarantee to the person, persons, or corporation advancing the funds or to their assigns that we will reimburse such person, persons, or corporations, or their assigns, for all sums so advanced them, and that each of us shall become liable to such person, persons, or corporations, or their assigns, up to ther sum of not exceeding $100 each, such payments to be made within five years time,  1/5 of the amount of the liability payable annually.  It is understood
that if any signer to this paper desires to become liable for a greater  amount thatn $100 he may do so by specifying amount over his signature and hereby binds himself for such greater sum."
       The defendant and a number of others signed, the total amounting to $7,980, and being completed before June 23rd.  [1913?]  A site and building known as the Turner Opera House in said city was purchased for $3,500 by the committee, possession thereof given to the Marinette Knitting Mills Company pursuant to the terms..." 

Entire text can be found at,+Oconto,+WI&source=bl&ots=_DMw1j7z6d&sig=RCKJwP7GmYt6_sF8EMFy9XEGZhw&hl=en&ei=1QhoTMbhAcujnQfj3IDBBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Turner Opera House is also mentioned at  Oconto site ...  

From four to ten pieces
Music furnished for all occasions. Prices reasonable. Correspondence solicited.
Advertising Handbill
"Home talent plays were given at the old Music Hall and when that place was abandoned by all but the Oconto Lumberman printing office, plays, dances and other inside amusements such as ten pins and bowling took place at the Turner Opera House and the then big new Oconto high school."...
"Turner Opera House at the corner of Adams Street and Superior Avenue became the Marinette Knitting Mills' Oconto plant about 1914, and in 1958 was taken over by the Great Lakes Shoe Company. "

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