The Families of Adam Keith

“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales

 

The Rockwood opera house

Penrose Wolf [1856-1921]

 

Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Hieronimus Keith2>Michael Keith3>Harriet [Keith] m. [Levi] Wolf4>Penrose Wolf5

History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Chapter 30

 

The First National Bank of Rockwood, was organized in 1900, with a capital of $25,000. Its deposits are $150,000. Penrose Wolf is president, and H. F. Berkeybile, cashier.

 

List of Registered Historic Places in Pennsylvania, Penrose Wolf Building Rockwood, Somerset Co. PA

Penrose Wolf Building

Rockwood, Somerset Co. PA

Opera House Returns to Small Community

by Joyann Dwire

Published in Grit, March 16, 2003

 

“Ah, the good ol' days when one could enjoy an evening out at the town's opera house for dinner and theater.

 

Those days are back in Rockwood, Pennsylvania at the Rockwood Mill Shoppes & Opera House thanks to Judy Pletcher, a lifelong resident of the Rockwood area. The building in this small rural community has run the gamut from lumber and feed mill to opera house to feed mill and once again back to opera house.

 

Built between 1898 and 1905 by Penrose Wolf, a local businessman and landowner, the proximity to the B & O Railroad made the location ideal. Wolf built the structure in two distinctive sections that are still apparent today.

 

The first floor of the clapboard-sided front section was used as a storefront for the lumber mill. The second floor served as an opera house. The rear three-story section, whose exterior walls are four-bricks deep, was added in 1905 and operated as both a feed and lumber mill.

 

These businesses were instrumental in the expansion of Rockwood and the surrounding area; in fact, Penrose Wolf himself was a major factor in the growth of the tiny borough. During the height of his lumber business he employed many of the men of the town and surrounding area. The feed mill also operated with great success. "Ask Penrose Wolf for Sunkist, the flour of perfect purity," an ad in the 1912 Somerset County Leader urges.

 

The Opera House opened on the second floor of the building sometime around the turn of the century; thus, Wolf brought culture to the community, as well as business.

 

When Judy began her renovations, she found reminders of early minstrel shows on the walls of the old building. "Masie Ward Minstrels, October 1904" was etched on a dressing room wall. Next to it was the promise: "We will be back."

 

A handbill advertises "H.J. Meyer's Marvelous Moving Pictures and Specialties. Moral, instructional, pleasing. March 16, 1906." The November 30, 1906 issue of The Rockwood Leader encouraged locals to attend a performance of The Carra Comedy Company - "some of the best in the vaudeville profession."

 

The Opera House closed around 1918; its memory but a shadow in the community. The lumber and feed mill continued to operate until 1938. ...”