Taylor Opera House
192 Main Street,
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The Taylor Opera House was built by James S. Taylor, according to the book series, “Images of America, Danbury”. He originally solved the problem of felting hats with the Taylor sizing machines (Danbury was the hat capitol of the world) by machinery. He was born in 1825 and was the great-great-great-grandson of Thomas Taylor, an original settler of Danbury.
The success of the Taylor sizing machines which ruled the hatting industry for over 60 years generated the capital that led to construction of the Taylor Opera House. The building, with its unique domed roof, was built in 1870 and opened on July 4, 1871, served as a venue for operas, plays, concerts, motion pictures and high school commencements.
The Opera House was damaged by fire in 1884 and burned to the ground on October 29, 1922. The fire started in the building on Main Street and spread to 15 businesses before it was contained.
The building that was built on the site of the Taylor Opera House, the Pershing Building, was erected in 1923 and is located at the corner of Main and West Streets. It was named for John Joseph Pershing, the general and chief of staff of the U.S. Army. It was the largest commercial building at the time in the country with 35,000 square feet, with 14 stores on ground level and 58 offices in the upper level.
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