Proof of vaccination is no longer required for entry to the Smith Opera House. Masks are no longer required, though we strongly encourage their use particularly by those unvaccinated, including children. The Smith reserves the right to amend this policy as necessary, including at the request of specific artists or presenters.

The Smith Blog

SMITH HISTORY BLOG: The Smith by the Numbers

By Gretty Hollister

1893 = The year that fundraising for the Smith Opera House began.

2 = number of land plots needed to build the original opera house; one, the one facing Seneca street which we know as the Smith today, was already owned by William Smith, but the other was owned by a Mrs. Dorsey.

$12,000 = The money that William Smith put up to buy Mrs. Dorsey’s plot of land. (about $332,267.49 in today’s money).

$1,500 = The money raised by the Geneva community through a subscription campaign for the new opera house (about $41,533.44 in today’s money).

$500 = The final amount needed to buy Mrs. Dorsey’s land, put up by future manager of the Smith F. K. Hardison himself (about $13,844.88 in today’s money).

$14,000= The final purchase price for Mrs. Dorsey’s parcel of land that was needed to build the opera house (about $402,539.36 in today’s money).

1,200= Nearly the amount of people the original 1894 Smith Opera House could seat.

10-29-1894= The opening night performance at Smith’s Opera House, The Count of Monte Cristo starring James O’Neill.

35= Number of years it ran as Smith’s Opera House before being purchased by Schine Enterprises, Inc.

1918= Spanish Influenza outbreaks close public spaces, including the Smith

1918= The year that Smith’s Opera House becomes the Strand Theatre, or just the Strand. It remained this way until 1919.

01-06-1930= Schine Enterprises, Inc. breaks ground on the new Schine’s Geneva Theatre. The project is estimated to last nine months or so. It takes over a year.

03-17-1931= Opening night at Schine’s Geneva Theatre; the movie is an adaption of the play Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath, a loved comedy

1,800= The advertised number of seats at Schine’s Geneva Theatre; we also advertise “the biggest screen for miles”

1930= Mr. Gerald Fowler begins working for Schine’s Theatres, a manager who loves the Smith and is known to come in at 4 AM to start up the boilers.

1939= The start of World War II; the crests above the sunset frescos are painted over as a sign of patriotism in order to cover up the depictions of Axis Powers Germany, Japan, and Italy.

45,000= Number of military personnel at the Sampson military base during the years of WWII.

18,000= The population of Geneva in 1940.

1950s= The decade when movie-goers buy television sets and move to the suburbs; highway culture hits the central business district of Geneva hard.

1956= Sampson closes, causing a huge blow to the community, including the Geneva Theatre.

1965= St. Francis DeSales church burns down as a result of arson; Fowler offers the congregation the use of the Geneva Theatre for their services until the new church can be built.

11-30-77= Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra gives what many think will be the last concert at the Geneva Theatre; plans are to turn it into a parking lot.

01-06-78= Geneva Concerts leases the building from the Dutch owner Beleggingsmaatschappij Rali.

5= The number of men who made it their mission to save the Geneva Theatre (Paul Brown, Dan Belliveau, Steve Hastings, Jeff Rathaus, and Ken Camera).

$500= The money that each member of the “Brown-group” put up in order to make events happen at the Geneva Theatre (about 1,910.04 in today’s money).

$5,000= The money donated to the cause by Finger Lakes Times owner and publisher Sam Williams (about 19,100.38 in today’s money).

$42,000= The number to which Geneva’s financial authorities agreed to underwrite the purchase price of the Geneva Theatre (about $160,443.15 in today’s money).

$80,000= The money raised by the “Buy a Seat, Save a Theatre” campaign, at $150 per seat in 1982.

1994= The centennial of the Smith Opera House; major renovations on the façade and restoration of the interior are underway, trying to restore the Opera House to its former glory 1,400= About the number of seats today’s Smith contains.

06-2018= Renovations on the basement spaces of the Smith—the cabaret, downstairs restrooms, and dressing rooms.

10-26-2019= Save the date for the Smith’s 125th Anniversary Gala!

Sources: McNally, Charles. The Revels in Hand: The First Century of the Smith Opera House October 1894-October 1994. Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council, 1995.