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    Baird Theater Building Baird Theater Building
Located on the south side of the Courthouse Square in downtown Gainesville, the old Baird Theater building had other uses through the years. Built in about 1887 by J. Simonson, the original building had only two stories and was known as Simonson's Opera House. Eberle Baird bought it in 1905, adding a third floor and balcony. He remodeled the theater, calling it the Baird Theater. Entertainment included theatrical and vaudeville acts and minstrel shows; local citizens would organize entertainment, and even opera companies came to town. When silent movies became popular, they were shown at the Baird Theater with live musical accompaniment; one film, "Lost World," played with a full symphony orchestra. In 1939, Cox Furniture bought the building after its previous store was destroyed by a fire on the west side of the Courthouse Square. The building became a restaurant in 1994. (click image to view larger size)