George F. Hall, a favorite comedian who entertained the local theatre patrons several seasons in the past, came to the Opera House as “Dusty Rhoades” with A. Q. Scammon’s amusing comely “Side Tracked” and this play lost none of its amusing comedy by his work as tramp in comedy, in the presentation which came to the Opera House October 22,1902.
Uniform Rank, No. 11 Knights of Pythias, entertained the state Grand Lodge of West Virginia in Grafton for the week of October 27,1902, and entertained the delegates to the convention in a lavish manner at a fine banquet and ball held in Brinkman Hall which the members had beautifully decorated for the occasion by the committee on arrangements composed of Charles E. Compton, William E. Clayton, Louis A. Smith, Guy D. Haymond, James W. Holt, Charles H. Straub, Ona C. Jefferys, C.E. Steel, Simon Friedman, T.W. Heironomous, Henry M. Leps, A. E. Frush, R.C. McDade, A.A. Holt, J.C. Newham, S.K. White, William Willhide, Charles P. Guard, John Hardie, L.E. Warthen, C.V. Miller, F. Freidman, Edward E. Newlon and Charles D. Powell who were untiring in their efforts to make the stay of visiting brethren pleasant and enjoyable in hospitable Grafton.
Conroy, Mack and Edwards Stock company filled the week of November 17-22, 1902 and as usual did capacity business at cheap prices. Pat Conroy, a delineator of Irish comedy roles and his working partner, Dick Mack, seemed to find favor with the local patrons with their brand of slapstick comedy and Charles Edward’s clever imitations made the week stay both profitable and successful. No matter how mediocre a play or company proved in the days when prosperity was at the peak in the 80s and 90s no theatrical venture ever left Grafton broke and the actors stranded. In many cases the town of Grafton was a lifesaver to many companies that found the going hard elsewhere. Some of the attractions did not meet the approval of educational bodies of the town because of the supposed vicious and immoral nature of the action on the stage by the men and women actors of the company, and these bodies condemned these plays unseen and unheard basing their judgment on the advertising matter displayed, It was true that at time such an attraction was shown which would not meet with the approval of the educational bodies in the theater, but like in all business the demand for certain goods must be met and the demand of the patrons of the theatre was so insistent the management was compelled to satisfy these patrons who were his regular customers and on whom he depended for his business rather than on the other class who never favored the theatre with their patronage and on the occasion when this class of entertainment was presented, youth of tender years was rigidly excluded.
The convening of the Mononghela Round Table Association in December, 1902, appointed Professors W.H. Gallup. C.H. Martin and Hayward Fleming a committee to prepare suitable resolutions condemning the vicious practice of exhibiting immoral and obscene show bills before the youth of the state and a copy of the resolutions handed the local management. Time, however, changes the viewpoint of people and sex pictures far more bold in action are shown on the screen than any action ever took place on the speaking stage in the past.
The death of John Doonan on Saturday December 6, 1902, removed from the town of Grafton one of its most notable figures. Born in Ireland in 1824 after receiving the educational advantages offered by the schools of his native land and believing his fortune lay in the land of the United States. When the Baltimore and Ohio railroad officials looked about for a clerk for the commissary to manage the affairs of the construction camps that were pushing the carrier toward the Ohio, Mr. Doonan was found particularly fitted for this position and remained with the railroad until its completion at Wheeling.
A shrewd man after his fashion he saw a future for the new town of Grafton Junction then beginning to take form at the junction of the Baltimore and Ohio and North West Virginia Railroads in 1852 and in 1853 purchased the land at the south west side of Main and St. John streets and erected the second business house facing the railroad right of way at the foot of his lands. His business career was successful from the start and was successful from the start and soon he became the most prominent figure in the business and political circles in the new settlement . In this he was greatly added by his wife, Elizabeth Pugh Doonan, a very beautiful and gracious woman in whose home many of the social functions were held before a temple of worship existed in the new town. A strong friendship existed between Mr. and Mrs. Doonan and General Manager William D. Burton of the North West Virginia Railroad who named St. John Street in Mr. Doonan’s honor and Elizabeth (Main) street in honor of Mrs. Elizabeth Pugh Doonan who although not of Mr. Doonan’s religion, threw open her home for the people of the Catholic faith to meet and offer up their devotions, later she became a convert to the faith of her husband and became one of the most active members of the congregation of the Catholic church and organized and taught the first Sunday school attended by the children of the parish.