The historic brick structure that currently houses the Arts Council for Wyoming County has served many diverse functions during its century and a half of existence. The "Smith Block" was originally constructed as a three story building in 1857 by Rufus H. Smith. During the nineteenth century the storefront of 31 S. Main St. was home to a cabinet maker, furniture store and "undertaking parlor." Most interesting however was the block's third floor theatre and public hall where notables such as Horace Greeley, Mary Livermore, John B. Gough, Bayard Taylor and John A. Logan came to speak. During its subsequent incarnation as part of the "Olin Block" the popular cultural venue was enhanced and transformed into the Olin Opera House. A major fire in 1891 destroyed the south portion of the structure as well as the entire third floor over the present Rufus Smith Building. By 1895 the rebuild was complete and business resumed in a modified two story structure. The twentieth century brought tenants who utilized the space for commercial endeavors, including an insurance agency, clothing retailers and even a video rental business. During the building's centennial year (1995) the Arts Council for Wyoming County purchased and reclaimed it as a cultural center for the community.

Thank you to Rick Hauser of In Site: Architecture.

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