On the 2d of October, 1862, Mr. R. M. Hooley, formerly connected with the E. P. Christy troupe of negro minstrels, and who had occasionally played at the Institute, Athenaeum, &c., during the preceding fifteen years, opened a negro minstrel Opera House, in Court street, opposite the City Hall, which he conducted with much success, until 1865 when the building was destroyed by fire. It was immediately rebuilt, with increased elegance and capacity, and now ranks among the permanent institutions of the city. In October, 1868, Mr. Hooley opened a similar establishment in the Eastern District of the city, in the old Odeon building, a building was erected in 1852, by the Messrs. Kemp. The ball-room on the second floor, was then the most spacious and attractive in the city, and the lower floor was fitted up as a theatre. Mr. James Pilgrim managed the house, and Harry Watkins, Dolly Davenport, Charles Fisher, Billy Florence, John R. Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Conway, Lizzie Weston, Mrs. Merrifield and others were among the players. Mr. Pilgrim failed and Mr. Watkins assumed the management, and ran through a season. The Kemps were succeeded by Mr. Alfred Theall, and he found a successor in Mr. Sam. Lewis. In his hands its fortune varied, and finally he left it when the war commenced and it was used as an armory for the Forty-seventh regiment. After the war Mr. Seaver opened it with a company of minstrels; was succeeded by Mr. Edwards. Mr. Ed. Eddy tried it as a theatre and Miss Denvil followed. This hall Mr. Hooley refitted in elegant style; but, though the opening was a brilliant success a few months' trial resulted in its closure.

In the fall of 1868, also, a Brooklyn Varieties was started in the P. 0. building, in Washington street, near Fulton, but soon flatted out; and the Tabernacle of the Elm Place Congregational Church (which after the removal of that society, was occupied for a while as the armory of the Fifty Second regiment; and, during the presidential campaign of 1868, as a democratic wigwam), was converted into The Olympic Theatre by R. M. Hooley, and is now in the hands of T. L. Donnelly (formerly of Hooley’s troupe), and and is patronized by those who admire ballet dancers, burlesque actors, comedians, vocalists, etc.


Previous to 1852, there had been no effort whatever in Brooklyn for the encouragement of the polite arts. At this date, several gentlemen started an Art Union Association, on the same principle as the old New York Art Union for the distribution of pictures by lottery, and opened their exhibition rooms in the Whitehouse building, 283 Fulton street. The rooms were

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