A lot of people know about Robert Fulton
and his steamboat. If you got to know him "up close and personal", you'd find out that he was born in Little Britain, PA, just down the road from Lancaster City. He traveled to Paris to study painting, then became an engineer, had something to do with the first submarine, and eventually died in NYC and was buried in Trinity Church cemetery.
Lancaster County is chock full of tributes to Fulton, my most unfavorite being the giant steamboat restaurant on Route 30, but I digress.
The best and the brightest of the tributes to Robert Fulton is the Fulton Theater, the Grand Old Lady of Prince Street.
The oldest continually running theater in America, it was built on the site of Lancaster's pre-Revolutionary jail where the Paxtang Boys, a local vigilante group, massacred the last of the Conestoga Indians, while they were being held there for their protection, thus inspiring all those ghost sightings of legend. The exterior wall of the jail courtyard is now the back wall of the theater, and before the recent renovations, the green room was reached via a creepy stone area that you tended to run through while peeking over your shoulder. (At least I did.)
This National Historic Landmark has been called by many names over the years :
Fulton Hall, the Fulton Opera House, the Fulton......It's also been many things during its' history. I can't say it any better than the following, copied from the theater website "From a meeting hall, to the "Queen of the Roadhouses" through Vaudeville, the movies, near destruction, salvation and on to the cutting edge of contemporary theatre, the history of this majestic place literally chronicles the evolution of the American Stage."
There's nothing quite like being part of a production and standing on that stage.
So there you have it: the fantastic Fulton Theatre.