LANDMARK: Shepherdstown Opera House
YEAR BUILT: c. 1910
The Shepherdstown Opera House was built as a “family theater” by Upton Scott Martin, who was the mayor of the town at the time. The Shepherdstown Register noted the first performance in August 1910 and for the next several years the entertainment was a mix of silent moving picture shows (projected with hand-cranked equipment) along with a variety of singers, dancers, and other traveling performers.
Clifford Musser, the editor and publisher of The Independent newspaper moved his printing equipment into the third floor of the building in April of 1914 and later that year he took on the management of the theater. In 1915, Musser and his wife Ada, along with their two sons, moved into a newly constructed apartment on the second floor of the building. The Musser family purchased the building in 1926 and soon thereafter updated the theater to show the newly introduced “talking films.”
The theater went dark in May of 1957. With no air conditioning or public restrooms, it was likely not a very attractive venue for mid-century moviegoers. In 1987, Rusty and Pam Berry purchased the building and took on a multi-year project to reopen the theater in 1992. The current owners, Steve and Harriet Pearson, purchased the Opera House in 2018 and completed a full rehabilitation of the structure in 2023. More information about the history and current programming is available at OperaHouseLive.com