History and images have been compiled from various sources including, among others, the 1987 National Register of Historic Places, Stack & Beasley's 1902 Sketches of Monroe and Union County, Union County Public Library (Patricia Poland, Genealogy & Local History Librarian), the Heritage Room Photo Collection, North Carolina Map Collection, Rootsweb - An Ancestry.com Community and Ancestry.com family histories.

Monroe Opera House 1898 and Hugh Hinde

Of the Monroe Opera House, J. Ray Shute related in an interview,

"In 1898 J. Shute and Sons built the Opera House, and that afforded outside entertainers maybe an average of once a month during the year. 

"When you had things like that, just like when John Robinson's Circus came to town every year, everybody went. There was no trouble about getting attendance; everybody went. We never were large enough to have Al G. Fields' Minstrels. 

"They came to Charlotte, but they didn't come to Monroe. But we did have Weber and Fields, who afterwards became national comedians. They were here in Monroe. And Thomas Dixon's "Klansman" was shown here with a horse on the stage. That fascinated all of us. He came out and talked during intermission. He was a young writer back then. But it was pleasant. I enjoyed it."

The Monroe Heritage Room Collection notes the interior photo of the Opera House as "early 1900s."The caption is difficult to decipher but appears to read...

Hugh Hinde reporting the (this?) meeting of Confederate Veterans about (possible date). (After contacting Patricia Poland, Union County Public Library, I followed her hints that Major Benjamin Hinde was born 1862 and died 1924; a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and fought in WWI.) After more research, I found an interesting history.  

Benjamin Hugh Hinde immigrated from London, England in 1888 and was in Monroe by 1910. His death certificate noted his employer as Contact Officer for the Veterans Bureau in Charlotte. The 1910 Monroe census noted his occupation as a claims agent for the rail board; therefore, he was present in the above photo sometime between 1910 and his death in 1924. The "+" on the photo indicates Hinde's possible location at the table.

Benjamin Hugh Hinde
--Born 15 July 1862 Tarbert, County Kerry, Ireland (death certificate)
--Son of Dr. Benjamin H. Hinde and Bessy Lydia Owen
--Died 22 July 1924 Morning Star, Mecklenburg, NC (NC Death Collection Archives & History)
--Immigrated 1888 and married Mary Olivia Kidd (1874-1932) in 1891.
--Death Certificate noted occupation as Contact Officer, Veterans Bureau, Mint Building, Charlotte; employer Government. He was accidentally killed in a car accident; broken neck, open wound left chest.

--1871 England Census: Benjn Hugh Hinde, Kent, England, born in Ireland.
--1881 England Census: Hinde was a clerk in the Royal Navy aboard Emerald.
--1900 VA Census: Hiwassee, VA. Occupation miner. Children: Ida M. 8, Kathleen 5, Muriel 2.
--1910 Monroe Census: 310 Crowell Street - Hugh Hinde 47, wife Mary O. 35, children Ida E. 17, Irene 15, Murielle 12, David 10 and Ethel Hinde 8. Claims agent rail board.
--1920 Monroe: Hugh 57, Mary 45, Irene 24, Miriam 22, Dorsie 19, Ethel 15, and John 7. No occupation noted.

--1940 Monroe Census: 309 Morris Street - Hugh d'Arcy. Hinde (head) 39 railroad engineer, siblings Kathleen 45 bookkeeper, John S. 27 trainman, Muriel 42, brother-in-law Clinton Benton 40 baker, Benton children Clinton 18, Olivia 16, Betty 11 and Joyce 8.

--Murielle Lucy Ione Hinde (1887-1975) married Clinton Dreyfus Benton.
--Ida Mary Lydia Hinde (1892-1986) married Oscar Douglas Davis (1889-1971); he was born in England and was in Monroe by 1920. Both died in Hamlet, NC.--Kathleen Irene Hinde (1895-1989
--Hugh d'Arcy Pearson Hinde (1900-1975) 
--Ethel Iris Violet Hinde (1904-1991) married Roy Curtis Smith Sr. of Monroe. 1930 in Benton Heights, Monroe, NC. She died in Monroe.
--John Ray Stanley Hinde Sr. (1912-1987) married Pauline Presley (1923-2009).  


Other sources noted Benjamin Hugh Hinde: Studied law and military tactics, served in the Egyptian War as lieutenant, Boer War as captain, 2nd VA regiment in 1898, and the Mexican War in 1914. He attained the rank of Major prior to his death.

The Monroe Opera House, on the NE corner of Hayne and Franklin Streets, was demolished in 1973.
<<The site today.

Be sure to click to enlarge all of the early images below and note the early streetlight.


1 comment:

  1. A friend in Massachusetts just sent me a link to news about the Center Theater and the plan to install an organ there. That was news to me! I hope they succeed.... That got me to thinking in my 69 year old brain about my first memory of seeing a movie in Monroe. I think I was about 4 or 5 years old and my parents brought me to the Opera House. I later recall that we went there because movies were cheaper there than at the Center Theater. (My dad made little money as a inventory clerk but he insisted that mom stay at home to raise the children.)
    All I remember is that the seats were hard and the place was dirty. Interesting to note that the vaudeville team of Weber and Fields performed there. I have had for decades some of their Victor novelty records and was amazed to see their 1923 performance around a pool table in front of the De Forest Phonofilm sound on film system. This was FOUR years before the Jazz Singer which is so widely (and incorrectly) touted as the first "Talkie".

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