Knights of Labor Opera House

Knights of Labor Opera House (HM2B19)

Location: Shawnee, OH 43782 Perry County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 36.231', W 82° 12.689'

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In 1869 a secret organization. The Knights of Labor, was founded
in Philadelphia. The K.O.L. promoted an ideal society based on
bettering life for others with the slogans. "labor was the first
capital" and "an injury to one is the concern of all." Shawnee's
Local Assembly No. 169 Knights of Labor was organized in 1876
and quickly became a powerful voice for labor in Ohio. National
labor leader, William T. Lewis. later Labor Commissioner of Ohio,
taught free grammar classes at night for the miners. Lewis initiated
"The Ohio Plan," the first free employment bureaus in the United
States. William H. Bailey, later head of National District Assembly
No. 135 of Miners and T.L. Lewis, President of the United Mine
Workers in 1910, also started their careers here. Meetings involving these leaders led to the formation of the United Mine
Workers in 1890.

The K.O.L. became an open organization in 1879. The Opera House
was built in 1881, a demonstration of pride that the K.O.L. was no
longer a secret organization. The building cost $8,200 for basic
construction. The bricks were molded by hand and hauled to be fired
at the edge of town. The building housed a cooperative store
on the first floor, a theater on the second floor. and a library
with a classroom and meeting space on the third

floor. The centerpiece of social life and entertainment for the area, the auditorium was used for plays, graduations, dances, and gatherings such as the annual Bobby Burns celebration and the Welsh Eisteddfods.
As a more trade union oriented labor movement led to the formation
of the American Federation of Labor, K.O.L. membership diminished.
The building was sold in 1902 to the Knights of Pythias and was
sold again 1943 to Hannah Brothers Furniture.
HM NumberHM2B19
Year Placed2011
Placed ByThe Village of Shawnee, Ohio, and The Ohio Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 at 8:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 395991 N 4384490
Decimal Degrees39.60385000, -82.21148333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 36.231', W 82° 12.689'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 36' 13.86" N, 82° 12' 41.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)740
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 108 Main St, Shawnee OH 43782, US
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