About Harlan Hall

Article Index
About Harlan Hall
Property Ownership
Building Significance
Marshall History Relative to Harlan Hall
All Pages


The Harlan Hall Opera House is located at 603 Locust Street. It faces north and is on the southeast corner of the Courthouse Square at the corner of Sixth Street and Locust (originally known as Hamilton and Market Streets) in Marshall, Clark County, Illinois. The free standing brick commercial building measures approximately 40 feet by 125 feet and stands at its original prominent location in the downtown Marshall business district. The building is in the area designated as the Marshall Main Street and is just one bolck south of the original National Road, a designated scenic byway.

The property originates with the purchase of a section of land from the Federal Government by William B. Archer and Joseph Duncan in 1829. Marshall was founded in 1835, and the first recorded entry for lot 3 & 4 of Block 38 was on August 13, 1835. The property changed ownership several times until February 20, 1861, when it was purchased by Howard Harlan for $140. He constructed his magnificent opera house in 1872 on lot #4 at an ideal location that was one block from the National Road, three blocks from the Archer House Hotel, one and a half blocks from a proposed railroad station, and across the street from the county courthouse. The building was designed as a spacious opera house on the second floor with the convenience of a "drive-in" livery stable on the first floor.

In a newspaper article about Marshall from the mid 1870's it reads as follows:

"There has been erected in Marshall during the past few years, some very fine buildings, in which all her citizens feel a just pride, among which may be mentioned Harlan's Hall, erected at considerable cost of Howard Harlan, Esq. The Hall is 40 by 100 feet, with a twenty foot deep stage supplied with a beautiful drop curtain, and very fine scenery. It is well ventilated, and easy of entrance and exit. It is as fine a City Hall as there is in the West for a city the size of ours."