Shawn M. Morse
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City of Cohoes
97 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY 12047

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May 27, 2018
5:41 PM


Cohoes Music Hall  
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Cohoes Music Hall

The Cohoes Music Hall opened in 1874.  The building was designed by the architectural firm of Nichols and Halcott of Albany.  James Maston, a newspaper publisher, and his partner, William Acheson, a textile manufacturer, had the theater built at a cost of $60,000.


On the first floor was a post office and three large stores. The second floor held eight offices, a storage room and the ticket office.  And on the third floor, the theater!  The first show, London Assurance, was by an Irish-American playwright who was poking fun at London Society.


During its history featured many luminaries of the day, including Buffalo Bill Cody, John Philip Sousa, Col. Tom Thumb and his wife,One of the greatest stars of Vaudeville, the highest paid, and the best known in her day was Eva Tanguay .  Eva was raised in Cohoes and got her start in show business as a teenager performing at the Cohoes Music Hall.  Rumor has it she was booed her first time on the stage.  The hook came out and took her to the wings!


During its limited years of operation, some of the greats played at the Cohoes Music Hall: Buffalo Bill Cody, George M. Cohan, Lillian Russell, John Phillip Sousa, Jimmy Durante and Sarah Bernhardt, to name a few.


By1878, James Maston had sold his $30,000 interest in the Music Hall to Mary Acheson for $.25.  He claimed there was too many concerts and playhouses in the area for the theater to turn a profit.


In 1905, the National Bank of Cohoes owned the building and ran a bank on the first floor.  A sagging roof truss gave them the excuse to close the Music Hall.   The last production was a piece of exotica called Egypta.  The theater remained sealed off from the public until the City of Cohoes purchased the building in 1969 for $1.00. 


After a full renovation, The Cohoes Music Hall has since been restored to its nineteenth century magnificence and reopened in 1974 with a production of London Assurance, 100 years after the original.The Cohoes Music Hall has since been a venue for many dramatic and musical performances. 


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