In 1874, two local businessmen, miller William Acheson and newspaper owner James Masten, financed the construction of a four story music hall for $60,000 in the bustling industrial city of Cohoes, New York. Built during the heyday of this growing mill town, what would come to be known as The Cohoes Music Hall, stood at the center of the City’s business district. The building was designed to house retail spaces on the first floor, offices on the second, and a 475 seat music hall on the third and fourth floors. The grand opening was held on November 23rd, 1874 with a performance of Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance.
Over the years, the Hall hosted a mixture of performers including; Buffalo Bill Cody, John Philip Sousa, P.T. Barnum’s baby elephant Hunky Punky, General Tom Thumb, Pat Rooney, and Cohoes native La Petite Adelaide. Eva Tanguay, who appeared in the Hall in Little Lord Fauntleroy at age 12, went on to become one of the most successful entertainers of her day and it is her ghost that is believed to still haunt the Hall to this day. In 1882, The National Bank of Cohoes began leasing the first floor of the building and took over complete ownership in 1905. After 31 years of financial struggles and multiple reopenings, the bank closed the Music Hall in 1905 when a roof truss gave way. No one would set foot in the theater for over 60 years.
In 1968, the bank ceded the building to the City of Cohoes for $1. Plans were developed to restore and reopen the space and the City was able to gather over a million dollars of funding for the project. It took over 5 years, but the theater was reopened with a performance of London Assurance on March 7, 1975, 100 years after the original opening. Since its reopening, it has been the home to various theater groups, comedy shows, and live concerts and it remains the 4th oldest operational music hall in the United States.
COHOES MUSIC HALL, 58 REMSEN STREET, COHOES, NY, 12047