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  Texas : Architecture : Theatres :
Drive-by Architecture

The Millett Opera House
c. 1878
Austin, Texas

A National Register Property
Architect: F.E. Ruffini
110 E. 9th Street

by Johnny Stucco

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Austin's Millett Opera House The Millett Opera House
TE Photo
This building was once capable of seating 800 patrons, which at the time was 7% of Austin's population. Mr. Millett owned a lumberyard on this site, so construction didn't involve too much moving of materials.

At the time of it's completion it was second largest theater in Texas - surpassed only by Galveston. Noted performers included Edwin Booth, and John Phillips Sousa. William Jennings Byan spoke here and it even served occasionally as a meeting place for the Texas Legislature while the Capitol was being built.

It also became a roller-skating rink when that craze hit - and boxing matches were held here as well. When the larger and newer Hancock Opera House opened in 1898, the owners learned about the fickle public.

It was acquired by the Knights of Columbus in 1911 and sold again in 1929. Remodeling both times failed to alter the building's outward appearance to any great degree.

Although F.E. Ruffini designed many buildings in Austin, the Millet Opera House is the only one standing today.


John Troesser
September 2001

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