Ohio Theatre

The Ohio Theatre was previously known as the Loudonville Opera House.

LOUDONVILLE -- In 1930, the Loudonville Opera House and Municipal Building (now The Ohio Theatre) was the site of the death of a well-known and high ranking official.

On Friday, Oct. 24, 1930, the manager of the Opera House, Hugh Geiselman, discovered a body in the basement boiler room.

Geiselman went to the basement at 4 p.m. to fire up the boilers to heat the theatre for a show later that night when he stumbled upon the body of the village's Marshal (the title then used to designate chief of police), Curtis W. Arnholt.

Dr. J.M. Heyde was called to the scene and found a heavy, .38 caliber police revolver under Arnholt's body. The cylinder of the revolver contained a single spent shell. Heyde immediately determined that the bullet had entered Arnholt's head over the right eye and after passing through both lobes of the brain emerged at a point back of the left ear.

It was ruled suicide, and death was instantaneous. Dr. George Riebel, the county coroner, agreed and determined that no further investigation was needed.

The town was shocked.

Arnholt had made his rounds that day, frequenting numerous businesses up until a short period before the discovery of his body. Witnesses said he was in his usual pleasant and light-hearted manner, even joking that he had to leave the barber shop where he was last seen because his fleece-lined coat made the shop "too warm," which raised suspicions about being found in the boiler room.

Arnholt was considered an indulgent father, a true and loving husband and the idol of his wife and five children.

The Loudonville Times noted that at a recent birthday party in his honor he took great pride in showing off home improvements he had recently finished, and talked in detail about more he hoped to accomplish in the coming months.

After Arnholt's death, however, rumors circulated that may have shed light on his hidden depression. It was said that he was under federal investigation for wrongful acts in his capacity as Marshal, as well as another "scandalous rumor of a most vile and vicious nature" that the Times refused to print.

The editor of the Times, a friend of Arnholt's, launched his own investigation into the rumors and determined that beyond a shadow of a doubt Marshal Arnholt had done no wrong. Arnholt had, however, discussed the accusations with Mayor C.E. Budd numerous times before his death and shown great concern that his "enemies" would "get him," despite his innocence.

Another newspaper noted that Mayor Budd admitted Arnholt was worried he would lose his job, and had previously contemplated suicide.

More information on the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum can be found at this link.

Support Our Journalism

History is about understanding where we’ve been. A membership with the Source supports where we’re going. Keep the richest parts of our heritage alive by joining today!