As the last remaining opera house in Fairfield County, the Victoria Opera House is both a window to the past and a key to the future.
In 1904, the residents of Baltimore voted to issue bonds for the construction of a council house, fire station and calaboose. Construction on the building was started in 1905 and additional bonds were sold in 1906 to complete the construction and to furnish the building. It was designed in the Italianate style of architecture. The frescoes on the second and third floor were painted by George Siegfried. The first event held in the Victoria was the 1905 High School Graduation ceremony. Those attending brought their own seats, as the theater seats had not yet been purchased. An estimated 500 people packed into the Baltimore City Hall at attend the ceremony.
The Baltimore City Hall and Opera House was renamed the Victoria Theater from 1919 until 1931. The Victoria was the site of silent films, vaudeville shows, lectures and religious events. The Victoria closed its doors in 1931. In 1936, the Victoria Theater was renamed the Ohio Theater, which ushered in the time of the “talkies”. The Ohio Theater showed films until the mid to late 1950’s when it’s doors closed for good.
The lower level has held various different businesses including a blacksmith, buggy repair and Freisner’s Gas Station. This lower level now houses the municipal offices of the Village of Baltimore. The Baltimore Masonic Lodge occupied the third floor until 1992 when the Village purchased it.
The Opera House fell silent for nearly 60 years, until the Baltimore Downtown Restoration Committee worked with the Village of Baltimore to begin the restoration process in earnest in 2011.