Better known recently as the Western Auto store, the Conway Opera House had a long and interesting history. Orrin Robertson built the Opera House on Washington Street near the Saco River Bridge, replacing an earlier structure moved to become the Saco River Cottage. Mr. Robertson's new building housed Sylvanus Sawyer's grocery store on the first floor, a butcher shop in the basement, auditorium on the second floor and restaurant on the third floor. The auditorium, known locally as the Opera House, was the only large meeting place in Conway Village. Plays and musicals were performed by traveling troupes who often stayed at the nearby Conway House. The hall also hosted dances and special events. In 1919, Leander Prescott, the building's new owner conceived and executed the idea of moving the massive structure to the corner of Washington and Main Streets, filling the void left by the 1912 Conway House fire. The move took several days with traffic being rerouted behind houses on Washington Street. A single horse labored at a capstan, pulling the structure slowly toward its new site. Amazingly, business continued during the move with customers scrambling up into the grocery store as it inched along Washington Street. Eventually, the second floor was converted into apartments while a series of businesses, including an auto parts store, an ice cream parlor, and a barber shop, occupied the first floor. The last business associated with the venerable building was the Western Auto store. On February 14, 1975, wisps of smoke were seen rising from the Opera House. By the time the residents were alerted and evacuated, the building was fully involved. Braving sub zero temperatures, the fire department was able to keep the conflagration from spreading to nearby buildings, but the Conway Opera House was damaged beyond repair.
Get me outa heah!: