George Stuart, a Nelsonville resident, ran a minstrel troupe on a showboat traveling around Ohio on its extensive canal system in the mid-1800s. Deciding to try new water, on the Erie Canal in upstate New York, Stuart’s showboat, designed for the calm waters of a canal was caught in a Lake Erie storm while being towed by a lake steamer to from Cleveland to Buffalo. After Stuart’s showboat sank he returned to the growing boomtown of Nelsonville with its new Hocking Valley Railroad and growing coal industry.
Stuart built the opera House in 1879. It served the community for a half century and went into decline. It sat empty for the next half century. A community group organized to rehabilitate it in the 1970s. It then suffered a catastrophic fire. Finally, it reopened a couple decades later and suffered another terrible blaze.
Today, it is the phoenix on the square in Nelsonville, risen from the ashes and bringing life to the community.
Image by: Tom O’Grady. This puzzle contains 672 pieces.