an amateur entertainment for the benefit of the Sanitary
Fair was given by prominent society people. Three
comedies were enacted, " Loan of a Lover," " Perfection"
and "Poor Pillicoddy." J'he evening following that,
'â– Macbeth " was produced by a company made up
from the stocks at McYicker's and Wood's, the proceeds
of which were also donated to the Sanitary Fair.
McVicker & Myers leased the Opera House July 8,
1865, and played a brief engagement with Mr. and Mrs.
Charles Kean, opening with "The Gamester." On the
10th, " Much Ado About Nothing " was given.
The system under which this theater was conducted
necessarily produced a varied, and not always com-
mendable, class of entertainments. Ostensibly devoted
to the highest forms of art, serious lapses from that
noble purpose must be noted. The combination system
now in vogue was at that time but tentatively repre-
sented, and it was difficult to fill dates with the better
and more famous actors, who did not travel then with
supporting companies, as they now do.
Concerts were given in August by George W. Mor-
gan, and in September by Karl Formes. Then came
the Hanlon Brothers, six in number, famed as athletes,
who displayed their remarkable skill in a comparatively
untried field on September 15. A matinee performance
was given by the Campbell & Castle English Opera
Company October 12, they being then booked for regu-
lar nights at the Academy of Music on Dearborn Street.
J. H. Hackett delivered a lecture, with illustrative read-
ings, on the subject of Shakespeare's comedies, Septem-
ber 29; Bateman's concerts, at which Carl Rosa, the
cornetist, appeared, began on October 23; and the third
season of grand opera opened on November 8, under
Grau's management, in a most encouraging manner.
The Music Hall was inaugurated November 29,
1865, by a concert company made up from Grau's
Italian Opera Company. This room was designed for
concerts and lectures only, and became a moderately
popular audience room.
Edwin Forrest returned to the Chicago stage, from
" the loophole of his retirement," â€” which he sought
June 23, 1848, â€” on the evening of January 22, 1866.
The veteran showed traces of advancing years, in the
declining of that giant-like physical strength which
had borne him through many a mimic contest with the
strongest men, but his mind was as active as of yore.
The company was led by John McCullough, whose
subsequent career demonstrated his right to claim
legitimate succession to his master's robes, no less than
to his roles. Madame Ponisi and Miss Lillie sustained
the first female parts in the plays presented. The
opening night of this great dramatic event was devoted
to the production of " Virginius," a play in which Mr.
Forrest has never been surpassed.
James E. Murdoch gave a reading at Crosby's on
Sunday evening, February 5, 1866, for charitable pur-
poses. The event was a notable one, for the reason
that the theaters were then but rarely opened Sunday
night. A large audience greeted him, and those who
listened to his " sermon in verse," " Enoch Arden," then
fresh in the public mind, can never forget his rendering
of it. Selections from Isaiah, Samuel, and other mas-
terpieces of composition were also read.
In May, 1866, a stock company under the director-
ship of C. D. Hess and Leonard Grover, was organized
for Crosby's Opera House, with the intention of filling
time between the appearance of traveling parties.
Among the people chosen were Mrs. Agnes Perry, Clara
Walters, A. W. Fenno, Charles Pope, Frank Lawler,
and J. 1'",. Whiting.
The misfortune which, from the first, attended the
Opera House, continued to increase as months rolled
by. As a financial investment it was a failure. It soon
became apparent that the property must change owners,
but how to effect this change was a problem that per-
plexed those who were most concerned. On the 26th
of May, 1866, public announcement was made of a
scheme which promised to relieve Mr. Crosby, and at
the same time place the property on a basis which would
enable the new proprietor to convert it into a self-sus-
taining investment. It was proposed to organize a
company, to be known as the Crosby Art Association,
and dispose of the edifice by lottery. The art gallery
MUSIC AND DRAMA.
located in the building contained a large number of
paintings and pieces of sculpture, many of which were
by recognized masters, and some of which were valued
at high figures. A prospectus was issued by the Asso-
ciation June 18, 1S66, offering an explanation of the
plan. The scheme contained the elements of popularity.
The universal desire to acquire sudden wealth without
the hazard of any considerable sum was a potent factor
in the success of this enterprise. The more conscientious
devotees at this shrine of Chance soothed their troubled
minds, and excused their purchase of a "share," by the
thought that they received an equivalent for their $5 in
the engraving donated with each ticket. Others satis-
fied compunctions of conscience with the specious
argument that, by purchasing a copy of " The Little
Wanderer," or any of the plates issued by the Association,
they were assisting in the encouragement of artistic
tastes. At all events, thousands of homes, and thou-
sands of dark closets in other homes, were adorned
with those well-remembered gems, while in every quar-
ter of the land private pocket-books were lightened of
greenbacks and weighted with the seductive bits of card-
board which suggested possible affluence. No scheme
of this sort had ever aroused the degree of interest
provoked by this gigantic venture.
It was announced that the drawing would take place
on October n, 1866, but no one was surprised at the
postponement of that auspicious event, when the date
arrived. The sale of lottery tickets at the host of
branch-offices established throughout the country, went
on apace. October came, and went. The thousands
who expected to draw the capital prize strolled through
the gallery and gazed at Cropsey's " Autumn " within and
on Nature's autumn without. Meanwhile stern winter
chilled theheartsof those made sick from hope deferred,
and yet the sale went on. The holders of tickets pro-
cured admission to the house to hear Parepa-Rosa and
Brignoli sing; and many a patron of Italian opera that
held grand carnival for three weeks from December 24,
glanced complacently about, between the acts, and
viewed the noble edifice which soon might be his own.
At last the day was set â€” the plan of distribution
given to a gaping world. Two wheels were ordered
made, into the larger of which two hundred and ten
thousand tickets, numbered from the first even unto the
last, were to be thrown and mixed in dire confusion by
an able-bodied man. Into the smaller wheel three
hundred and two tickets, each bearing a number, were
to be cast, as representatives of the prizes to be drawn.
These wheels were then to be stationed in conspicuous
manner on the stage of the theater, and turned until
the cards were throughly intermixed. A trustworthy
individual was to be stationed at each wheel, and sim-
ultaneously draw, blindfolded, a card from out each
fateful cylinder. The premiums were arranged in
schedule form, by title, and numbered, beginning with
the Opera House, as No. 1, and ranging down in value
to the poorest picture among the three hundred and
two prizes. The award was determined by the corre-
spondence of the tickets taken at the same moment
from the separate wheels.
The sales of tickets went on rapidly, and the dis-
tribution was advertised to take place January 21, 1867.
When that day arrived, all of the certificates except
twenty-five thousand five hundred and ninety-three
were disposed of, and these were retained by Mr. Crosby,
HISTORY OF CHICAGO.
who was willing to sacrifice much, rather than again
to disappoint the public. So the drawing took place.
The event was so humorously described in the columns
of the Republican, the morning of January 22, that we
quote from that paper as follows:
" When the dust of ages is recklessly scattered over this whole
transaction, there will remain a dim, uncertain tradition to the ef-
fect that the Chicagoans had a god by the name of Crosby, and
that on one occasion some grand religious ceremony took place in
his temple. * * * With what impatience this day has been
awaited, who can tell ? Has there ever been one so ' big with fate,'
since the praetorian guards put up the world's empire at auction?
* * * It is quite unnecessary to enter into a description of
the first steps taken in this important matter. * * * All the
tickets (except 25,593, held by Mr. Crosby) having been disposed
of, the drawing was fixed for the 2ist â€” a day especially sacred to
Saint Agnes, though what she can have to do with such affairs it
is hard to say. All entreaties for delays â€” all appeals for the issue
of more stock â€” were in vain. On Monday it must be, and on Mon-
day it was. As all know, who know anything, this city presented,
yesterday, and for two or three days previous, the most singular
spectacle. It was a city taken by storm. It no longer belonged
to itself. Every train from everv point of the compass came heavi-
ly laden with strangers, who, being unprovided with certificates,
rushed to purchase them, and re-appeared, after a time, furnished
with engravings ; or who, having been more provident, came to
be present at the appointed time, in order to see that every-
thing was fair. As a matter of fact, there were so many that it
was utterly impossible to accommodate them. The hotels were
filled. The Armory was filled. The saloons were filled. A pro-
posal to erect a number of berths in the tunnel was made, but there
was not time to put it into execution. * * * Not a few found
their way to Kinsley's [a restaurant beneath the Opera House],
and respectfully contemplated the wheels on exhibition there. They
looked at them from a distance, with mouths agape, with the same
reverence that an idolater would stare at his god. They walked
around and around them ; and finally, utterly carried away by their
feelings, they broke out into idiotical chuckles, and poked them-
selves in the ribs, to show themselves that they saw the joke. *
* * Where they all slept Sunday night â€” if they did sleep â€”
who can say? Some roamed back and forth through the streets
all night, stopping occasionally to take a little refreshment from the
inevitable carpet-bag. Some sat on steps, and some on curbstones,
and whistled. Some having insured warmth by a previous intoxi-
cation, laid themselves on the snow, and were still. But, when
the morning came, all, with one accord, swarmed out from the
nooks and crannies where they had stowed themselves, flocked to
the Opera House, and stood patiently outside, beating their hands
and stamping their feet. Not a word was spoken. No one looked
at his neighbors. On the face of each one was a look of infinite
peaces â€” a look of possessorship. But the acts of the residents of
the city were no less indicative of the importance of the day. There
was no ringing of bells, no thunders of cannon and blare of trum-
pets. The occasion was too great to command it. But there was
nothing done on 'Change. Pork and wheat were duller than the
dullest. There was not a soul in the Court room, where the Stew-
art divorce case is in progress, 'except one judge, the counsel who
spoke, and the jury-men â€” and the whole baker's dozen, would
have willingly adjourned to the Opera House, had they dared.
The shops were generally closed, and business was at an entire
standstill. Nor was there much difference in other cities; for
when there is nothing done here, there is nothing done anywhere
else As prize after prize was drawn from the wheel, an operator
behind the scenes telegraphed the news North, South, East and
West. Everywhere was excitement. * * * From Galveston
to Calais, no talk of impeachment, reconstruction, or the tariff â€”
whether gold was up or down. They only asked, ' Who will be the
man ?' and each one replied in his heart's heart, ' I guess it's me ! '
And thus they stared and waited until the doors were thrown open.
Then came confusion, the most intense, and excitement unparal-
leled. The crowd flung itself into the broad passage, which was
lined by Sergeant Jennings' squad, and became almost inextricably
entangled. Carpet-bags were torn from clasping hands and tram-
pled under foot. Pictures were dropped and crushed. Coats were
rent. Toes were trodden on, and hats sunk to rise no more. Men
screamed and women fainted. Policemen swore and sergeants
scolded. At last the knot was untied, and the survivors, with wild
and turbulent uproar, like dashing waves of stormy seas, swept up
the stairs, leaving their dead behind them; leaving their baggage â€”
though some still held the handle of a valise, or the rim of a hat â€”
and boiled over into the Opera House, where they remained for a
time expectant and quiescent. The first symptom of life was when
three colored boys brought forward the wheels. The applause
broke out with greater fervor when, after the lapse of a few min-
utes, the committeemen, with ticket-boxes under their arms,
emerged from behind the scenes, and in solemn procession, wound
their way to the front."
The committee who attended to the drawing was
composed of W. F. Coolbaugh, J. C. Dore, James C.
Fargo, I. Y. Miinn, J. A. Ellis, Clinton Briggs. E. G.
Hall, F. A. Hoffman, Amos T. Hall, Chauncey Bowen,
of Chicago; David Pulsifer, of Boston; Charles P.
Stickney, of Fall River, Mass.; Samuel Castner, R. M.
Hedden, of New York; W. B. Thomas, C. H. Needles,
Richard Smith, of Philadelphia; Walter Ingersoll, of
Detroit; E. S. Rouse, of St. Louis, all representatives
of heavy business houses in their respective cities. In
the presence of the audience, the tickets were deposited
in the wheels. A few of the pasteboards were spilt upon
the floor, and the audience roared in agony and anger.
Each feared that his ticket was thus irrevocably doomed
to ignominious defeat. The large number of shares
held by Mr. Crosby were represented in the wheel, and
assurances were given by the committee that the full two
hundred and ten thousand numbers were included in
the list. When all was ready, amid breathless silence
Peter Peterson turned the crank of one wheel, and Emile
Riske manipulated the other. As fate would have it,
twenty-six tickets were drawn before one of the nine
great prizes was reached; the twenty-seventh drawing
awarded Prize No. 5, Cropsey's " Woods in Autumn,"
valued at $5,000, to ticket No. 35,460, held by J. J.
Taylor, of Springfield, 111. Then came a list of petty
premiums, until the sixty-first drawing gave ticket No.
56,960, held by E. P. Dwyer, of Chicago, Prize No. 8,
"Alpine Scenery," by Gignoux, valued at $3,000. The
eightieth drawing bestowed Prize No. 6, " Recognition,"
on the holder of ticket No. 21,996, presumably held by
Mr. Crosby. The list ran on, amidst increasing excite-
ment, as the three hundred and two chances were
gradually narrowed by withdrawals, until, on the one
hundred and thirteenth announcement the audience rose
in wild confusion to hail the winner of the capital prize.
Who held the fortunate ticket 58,600? Where was the
man ? Who was the man ? Perhaps it was as well for
him that he was not in the throng of wild-eyed, disap-
pointed humanity. True it was, that no response came
to the loud demands for his appearance. All was
mystery. Some one called upon the committee to state
who held ticket 58,600, but that august body of men
proceeded calmly with the drawing, and left the
audience to waste its fury in impotent lashings at Fate,
and at strainings to catch a chance unfolding of the
mystery. Again the wheels revolved, and at the 148th
drawing, ticket No. 176,189, held by Mr. Crosby, re-
ceived the third prize, " An American Autumn," valued
at $6,000. The masterpiece, by Bierstadt, " The Yo-
semite Valley," held at $20,000, also fell to Mr. Crosby,
on' the i62d drawing; and the bust of Lincoln, by Volk,
went into the same hands. The seventh prize, " Deer
on the Prairie," by Beard, became the property of
Daniel Russell, of Boston, who had purchased ticket No.
61,942. " Washington Irving and His Friends," by Dar-
ley, was included in the number of lucky tickets retained
by the great projector of the scheme. There still re-
mained some premiums to be disposed of, but with the
awarding of the nine valuable lots, the audience lost
especial interest, and gradually melted away.
The one absorbing theme was the solution of the
mystery that surrounded the name of the man who had
drawn the Opera House. The committee announced
that the subscription books were sealed up, and no ac-
curate information could be given until returns had
been received from some branch-office. The action was,
MUSIC AND DRAMA.
as might have been foreseen, the cause of great dis-
satisfaction. Had it been stated at once that A. H.
Lee, of Prairie du Rocher, 111., held the winning ticket,
this enterprise would have gone down in history as a
most satisfactory lottery. But the publication of the
following letters should have set at rest all doubts con-
cerning the fairness of the disposal of the capital prize,
The St. Louis Republican of January 24, 1867, con-
tained the subjoined communication from Mr. Lee,
addressed privately to his brother-in-law, Daniel G.
Taylor of that city :
" Prairie du Rocher, III., January 23, 1S67,
" Dear Daniel: â€” I was very much astonished, last evening,
about seven o'clock, by the sudden appearance of two men in our
bedroom, where I sat reading by the side of my wife's bed, with
the announcement that I had drawn the Opera House, in Chicago.
I don't think that I was at all excited by the report. I had a
slight acquaintance with Mr. Burroughs, one of the men ; the
other, from Waterloo, was an entire stranger. The only document
they brought was a copy of the Missouri Republican, of the 23d
inst., which had so many accounts of the matter that I hardly
dared believe any of them. However, I bore the congratulations
of my new friends with commendable fortitude, and dismissed
them with suitable acknowledgments. After the lapse of half an
hour, I was the recipient of sundry calls from the neighbors and
friends in the village, all highly excited. The report had flown like
lightning, and the whole neighborhood was in an uproar. I bore
a hand at receiving the company, answered their numerous ques-
tions with as much dignity as I could assume, and, in a state of
semi unconsciousness of what it all meant, started off to com-
municate with Frank on the curious appearance of things. I had
been there but a few minutes when a ' halloo ' was heard at the
door for ' Mr. Lee ! Is Mr. Lee here?' Well, I went to the door
and acknowledged that I was that person, and went at him with the
question, ' What do you want ? ' ' Why,' said the poor frozen fel-
low, ' I have a despatch for you from Belleville. You have drawn
the Opera House.' I received the document and read as follows :
" ' A. H. Lee, Prairie du Rocher, 111.
" ' Crosby's Opera House yours. Hold your ticket.
(Signed) 'J. 13. Chamberlain.' "
" I mentally returned thanks to my new friend, Chamberlain,
and went home considerably perplexed; not yet conscious of the
reason for my being in the hands of so many new friends, who
seemed to show so strong a desire to pay me attention. But a
happy thought struck me. I will look at my ticket and see if there
is anything in it. Well, Daniel, when I found it, there the figures
stood, as plain as day -5S, 600, and no mistake. Meanwhile, Joe
and Ma had got hold of the matter, and, to my unbounded
astonishment, received it as a fact. I had undressed myself, as it
was growing late, and was sitting in my long-tailed nightshirt,
discussing the events of the evening, when a thundering knock at
the door announced that all was not over yet. Ma went to the door,
and quickly returned with the intelligence that ' a man ' wanted to
see me, and that he said I had drawn Crosby's Opera House.
' The devil ! ' said I, ' I wish they had to swallow the Opera
House.' After dressing, I went down to receive the new messenger.
He bowed to me, I thought, as though I were a man of property,
and in suitable style delivered his credentials. I looked carefully
over a very well written letter of six lines, and derived such infor-
mation as induced me to believe that the lucky holder of 58,600
was about to become a man of property, sure enough; for this
letter came from Messrs. Pettes & Leathe, sent, as they say, by
instructions of Mr. Crosby himself. I found this last messenger
pretty well informed, and, after seeing him eat a hearty supper
and arrive at the condition wherein people, generally, are confi-
dential and good-natured, I took him aside, and asked him if it
were a fact, and no mistake. He gave the most solemn assurance,
that there was no mistake about it. Very well, Daniel, as I am
really the possessor of ticket No. 5S,6oo, I suppose the Opera
House belongs to me; and I just say to you that it is for sale. I
suppose that somebody wants to buy it, and I have to ask you to
sell it for me. It is impossible for me to leave my wife in her
present condition, or I would go up to you at once. I must wait
until she gets better, whether I secure the Opera House or not.
" Your friend and brother,
"A. H. Lee."
To Mr. Crosby he wrote :
" Prairie du Rocher, III., January 23, i86y.
"U. H. Crosby, Esq., Chicago, 111.
" Dear Sir: â€” I received a dispatch last evening, via Belleville,
and a note, by courier, from Messrs. Pettes & Leathe, of St. Louis,
acquainting me with the very interesting fact that my ticket, No.
58,600, had drawn the Opera House. It would seem that a sight
of the ticket is of some consequence, as several parties from St.
Louis have already been here to have a look at it. 1 am -sorry to
say that I am unable to leave home just now, on account of the
the dangerous illness of my wife, which is a great drawback to the
pleasure which I should enjoy at this marvellous piece of good for-
tune. I have written to my brother, Daniel G. Taylor, of St.
Louis, to answer all questions for me concerning the business, until
such time as I may be able to leave home. In the meantime, I re-
main your very much obliged and very humble servant,
"A. II. Lee.
" P. S. If you should desire to make a proposal for the Opera
House, please correspond with Daniel G. Taylor.
A. II. L."
On the 25th of January, Mr. Lee was enabled to
visit Chicago. The card given below explains the re-
sult of his interview with Mr. Crosby :
" Chicago, January 26, /S67.
" To the Editor of the Chicago Republican : â€” I desire to pub-
licly acknowledge the obligation I am under to U. H. Crosby,
Esq., for the promptitude and courtesy with which he has dealt with
me as the owner of the Opera House. As soon as the books were
unsealed by the committee, and my name was discovered, a tele-
graphic message was sent by him to Pettes & Leathe, the agents of
the Association at St. Louis, to ' put a faithful man on horseback
and at once notify me of the fact.' This was done without ex-
pense to me. The illness of my wife has prevented me from
coming to Chicago sooner. It was my wish and request that I
might come here and transact my business with Mr. Crosby without
becoming the object of unpleasant notoriety, and without having
my name heralded in the newspapers ; and I feel deeply indebted
to him for the considerate manner in which the request has been
observed, especially as it has cost him some embarrassment as well
as occasioned invidious comment. Feeling that the Opera House
should properly be owned by Mr. Crosby, I made him the offer to
sell it to him for $200,000, and the offer was accepted in a spirit
which was most gratifying, and the money promptly paid me. My
connection with the Opera House having thus happily terminated,
" I am, very respectfully and sincerely yours,
" A. H. Lee."
Thus ended the greatest lottery venture eyer under-
taken in Chicago. The ruffled current of life flowed on.
until, in the course of natural events, the keen edge of
disappointment was dulled by time's corroding cares,
and the animosities engendered were changed into
topics of jest and idle sport.
Adelaide Ristori was announced to make her first
appearance in Chicago, on the evening of January 21,
1867, the date made memorable by the distribution, but
delayed trains prevented her arrival in time to fill the