A resort of leading attractions

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The early heydays of the historic Dogie Theatre

Block 7, lots 17 and 18, are well-known in the Newcastle community because they continue to house the historic Dogie Theatre. This week, Leonard Cash details the beginnings of the Main Street lots, starting with the birth of the theater we still know and love today.

Weston County Courthouse records date back more than 130 years for lot 18. The first entry was filed as of March 2, 1885, when Lincoln Land Co. sold to John P. Ost. According to the Sanborn Maps, lot 17 was home to the L. Wineland Saloon in 1891, and the business was named after its owner. The map’s information is verified in Cash’s records from local news, which state that the saloon opened for business on August 21, 1890. Wineland, originally of Nebraska, built a building on a lot next the Castle Theater, also known as the House of Blazes.

Also in 1891, records indicate that lot 18 was occupied by John “Johnny” Owens, who ran the House of Blazes on the property. The House of Blazes was a dance hall and bar with rooms upstairs, according to Cash. The Weston County Democrat reported on the business in July 1890, stating that John Owen was constructing a new show building and music hall, later known as the House of Blazes. The structure was said to be “a modern building not to be behind the times” and “a resort of leading attractions.” Owens supposedly traveled all around to gather talent and have them come to Newcastle to perform.

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