A German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1874, Bernard C. Apel established a furniture and undertaking business at Depot Square in North Manchester. In 1888 he erected the large brick commercial building that stands at the corner of Apel Place and Oakland Street (35 Oakland Street). The basement contained the undertaking establishment and above it was his mercantile showroom, which he had expanded to include a wide variety of products, from carpets, wall paper and curtains, to crockery, lamps, clocks, stoves and pianos. The upper floors of the building housed a large community hall/theater called Apel’s Opera House. A fire gutted the opera house in 1899. Apel rebuilt, but did not reconstruct the original audience gallery. Serving as a warehouse and salesroom in later years, the building was acquired by the Central Connecticut Cooperative Farmers Association in 1977. The Co-op, which had been located on Apel Place since 1942, was a major supplier of livestock feed to farmers and had a retail store and farm stand in the former Opera House. The Co-op closed in the summer of 2016 due to current economic conditions and the decline in the number of farms.
Commercial Buildings, Manchester, Theaters, Vernacular