COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Cohoes Music Hall is a historic building located on Remsen Street in Cohoes. Over the summer, it was used for the filming of HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” a series set in 1882 starring Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, and Carrie Coon.
Cohoes Music Hall has been a hub for entertainment for nearly 150 years. This is its history, according to the Cohoes Music Hall website.
In 1874, two local businessmen, William Acheson and James Masten, financed the construction of the four-story building for $60,000. The building was designed to have retail spaces on the first floor, offices on the second, and the 475-seat music hall on the third and fourth floors. The grand opening was held on November 23, 1874, with a performance of Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance.
The Hall has hosted a variety of performers over the year 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 performed in the Hall at 12 years old, went on to become one of the most successful vaudeville performers in the 1800s and early 1900s
Cohoes Music Hall is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Tanguay, whose career waned over time. She lost her fortune in the stock market crash and lived out her last days in her home in Hollywood. She died at the age of 68.
In 1882, the National Bank of Cohoes began leasing the first floor of the building and took over ownership in 1905. After 31 years, the bank closed the Music Hall due to financial struggles. No one reportedly set foot in the theater for over 60 years.
In 1968, the bank gave up the building to the City of Cohoes for $1. The city was able to restore the building for over $1 million. The restoration took over five years. The theater was reopened with a performance of London Assurance on March 7, 1975, 100 years after it originally opened.
Cohoes Music Hall is the 4th oldest operational music hall in the United States. In 2020, the Playhouse Stage Company took over management from the city. Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said this move saves taxpayers about $250,000 per year.
In 2019, Cohoes spent $280,500 on the management of the venue and made $90,326 on ticket sales. With the new agreement, Cohoes pays nothing for management and receives $2 per ticket. The city does still provide utilities for the building.