100 years ago: New Bowersock Opera House opens to cheering public

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 21, 1912:

“Thirty years ago Saturday night [Jan. 20th], the old Liberty Hall was opened to Lawrence as a theatre by J. D. Bowersock. Frank March was the manager and Fay Templeton the attraction. February 18, 1911, the Bowersock Opera House and Journal Building burned to the ground. January 20, 1912, the finest theatre for any town the size of Lawrence was opened, the building having been built by J. D. Bowersock, the attraction being ‘Bright Eyes.’… Saturday night the new Bowersock theatre was opened formally to the people of Lawrence. Although there was a matinee in the afternoon, the evening performance was given out as being the official opening. A large audience was present…. Although there has been much written and said about the new theatre, the majority of the theatre-goers had not seen the interior of the building with its artistic decorations, its harmony of color, its absolute solidity and guarantee against danger from fire, its convenient seating arrangements, its proper acoustic properties…. It was between the first and second acts that the real surprise of the evening came…. Stepping to the front of the Bowersock box, Mayor Bishop told just what this new building meant to the town. He expressed the thanks of the city, formally, to Mr. Bowersock…. At the close of the talk Mayor Bishop asked the audience to give Mr. Bowersock a rising vote of thanks, following which Ralph Spotts led the students in the house to the ‘Rock Chalk, Jay Hawk, K. U.’ It was the students he was supposed to lead, but every man in the audience joined in the cheering until the painted figures in the mural paintings on the ceiling looked down in astonishment. Maybe they also joined in the cheering in the Rock Chalk to the man who had made them possible.”