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Girard, Kansas

Pittsburgh Daily Headlight 1897

Zinc and lead mines were big business in the late 1890s in Girard, KS. The demand for workers was so great agents in Southern Europe were recruiting mine workers to move to Girard. This influx of Southern Europeans made Girard a melting pot of serious mine workers, and hungry for good entertainment! Many people do not know Houdini was born in Hungary, which undoubtedly gave him some insight into Girards hard working population in 1897. I know that the California Concert Company performed at the Holzer Opera House aka Painton's Hall. I am not sure if they stayed at the St. James Hotel or the Commercial Hotel.  Any information or photos regarding Houdini's stays in Girard or of the opera house / hotels would be of great value to the book and research. Credit for any information or photos will be given in the book.

It should be remembered that the California Concert Company was a medicine show. The company would arrive in town and put on a impromptu show at a street corner or park. These shows goal was to sell as much "magical elixir" as possible. Just such an outdoor show was covered by a local Girard newspaper reporter. Did Houdini help in such activies - yes he did!

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