As you travel along Prince Street in Lancaster, you will see one of the community's many historic buildings. The stately Fulton Theatre, known as the "Grand Old Lady of Prince Street," opened 160 years ago as Fulton Hall. Today, it stands as one of only a handful of theaters in the country to have earned National Historic Landmark status and is one of the country's oldest continuously operating theaters. Many of the most famous performers in America's history have performed on its iconic stage, and today it still produces popular performances that "wow" Lancaster locals.
In 1852, Philadelphian architect Samuel Sloan built the Fulton Opera House to serve as a meeting hall and performance venue for the city. Built using Victorian design and boasting two balconies, the 683 seat theater has a beautiful interior that has been painstakingly restored and maintained, so it looks today much as it did when it opened over a decade and a half ago.
The building sits on the foundation of the pre-Revolutionary jail that once was part of Lancaster's history. The back wall of the theater is the original exterior wall of the jail courtyard. This means that the building is even more deeply steeped in history than that which started with the opening of the theater in 1852.
Over the years since it was originally built, the Fulton Theater has served as a meeting hall, movie theater, live-performance venue and concert hall. Since it holds less than 700 seats, it provides an intimate performance venue, and tickets to popular events can be hard to come by. Today, the Fulton Theater is maintained and operated by the Fulton Opera House Foundation, a Lancaster non-profit organization. Many famous people, including Marcel Marceau, Mark Twain, Helen Hayes and Al Jolson, have set foot on its stage.
In addition to being a historic landmark and venue for live performances, the Fulton Theatre is popular amongst those who follow potential ghost sightings. Some have reported accounts of hearing phantom applause in the building or seeing the piano play itself. The ghosts of Sarah Bernhardt and Marie Cahill are reported to haunt the building. Also, because it sits on the foundation of the old Lancaster jail, some have reported to be able to hear the screams of the Native Americans who were slaughtered by a mob on the premises.
Whether or not you believe in haunting, it's clear that The Fulton is the place to see live performances in Lancaster, PA. In March, the Fulton will host a performance of The Producers, with The Full Monty coming in May. The family theater series will host Cinderella in April and Little Women in May.
Are you making plans to see an upcoming performance at The Fulton? While you are here, visit the rest of our Lancaster, PA community. You are sure to fall in love with our city. Once you do, contact us at Homesale Realty to help you find a home in Lancaster, PA.