The Grismers: A Dynamic Duo on the Stage of Howey’s Hall

Publish Date: 2019-06-29

By Tom Collins

In the 1880s, Prescott had only one “opera house,” the tiny theater on the second floor of the building designed and constructed by James Howey in 1879. Levi Bashford bought the building in 1880 and, in 1887, created a theater with a stage only 10 feet deep and about 30 feet wide.  The seating capacity was about 250.  Despite the cramped quarters, professional theater troupes occasionally performed there.


One such troupe was the renowned San Francisco Grismer-Davies Company, headed by the most respected duo in the city:  Joseph R. Grismer and his lovely wife, Phoebe Davies.  They arrived in Prescott via the Atlantic & Pacific Railway in January 1888 and presented a trio of melodramas:  The Streets of New York, The Wages of Sin, and Called Back.

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Sharlot Hall Library & Archives

This photo is a Bate Brother's Studio photograph of both the auto bridge and train trestle crossing Hell Canyon near Drake, Arizona. Thomas and Claude Bate were Arizona photographers that traveled across Central and Northern Arizona capturing a variety of subjects and scenes. They had studios based in Phoenix and Prescott so they could photograph the many mines and mining operations that were in the area for the owners and people back East.

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