Built in 1892, The Twin City Opera House, in McConnellsville, opened as the opera house and town hall. It was built when the town was booming during the riverboats and railroads era when commodities were moved by river and rail and showboats brought live entertainment.
There were dozens of flourishing businesses in the area and the city council thought they needed to bring in more cultural entertainment. The building is three stories high and has a tower 108 feet from the sidewalk that was supposed to house a clock. However, the funds were not approved for the clock and it was never installed. The second floor was the offices of the city officials and the third floor a huge ball room.
The ground floor auditorium was uncommon for the late 1800’s, and is one of the last remaining theaters of its time period with this feature. The stage floor slopes to allow the audience’s front rows to see the performer’s feet. The auditorium’s central “echo dome” contributes to the theater’s nearly perfect acoustics. Lines spoken from the rear of the stage can be heard perfectly throughout the entire audience.
Perhaps the most intriguing and mysterious thing about the theater is its tunnel that ran under ground to the hotel across the street. The tunnel is rumored to have been used as part of the Underground Railroad. The performers also used it to move from the back stage to their hotel. Because of the heavy street traffic in the 1930’s and fear of collapse, the tunnel was filled in and now only the entrance is visible.
In the late 1980s, while doing renovations, workers discovered a hidden stairway leading from the second floor mezzanine to the village offices on the first floor below. How long that stairway had been hidden or what it was used for is still unknown. There had never been any indication that it existed before its discovery, and no one in the village could recall any mention of it. The Opera House still holds many secrets today, and is reluctant to give them up.
Being over 100 years old the opera house also has its rumored ghost sightings. A figure of a man, thought to be a former manager, in a white suit has been seen by both employees and visitors. There have been claims of objects moving, rattling noises and the drapes on the main stage suddenly closing over in the middle of a movie.
On the catwalk above the stage, the voice of a little girl, has said to been heard, and in the ballroom women singing. Paranormal investigators using their voice recording devises have picked up what sounded like growling in the basement area.