The postman in Fairmont, Minnesota, pausing in front of the Fairmont Opera House, completed in 1901. The building was renamed the Haynic Theater in 1912, for the building’s managers, William Hay and Lincoln Nicholas; in 1927, it became the Nicholas Theater. Today it survives under its original name, as the Fairmont Opera House.
The Fairmont Opera House website notes, “The use of the word ‘opera’ in the name was, in the early 1900s, more politically correct than a theater or variety hall, which were deemed morally corrupt. During this part of our American heritage, opera was a product of high civilization and a respectable form of entertainment. Thus, the name preserved the moral standing of this theatrical house, even though the entertainment inside these walls was the same as in any variety hall or theater of the age.”