I mentioned in a post a year or so ago that spiritualism revivalist Nettie Pease Fox came to Springfield in the fall of 1877, started a spiritualist newspaper there, and held a series of lectures at the Opera House on South Street. I mentioned that the revivalist fervor in Springfield had already started to cool by the end of the year, but apparently Ms. Fox continued to conduct lectures in other parts of the Ozarks for a while longer. For instance, on the last day of January of 1878, she lectured at the Opera House in Joplin, which was located at the corner of 2nd and Main.
In the late 1800s, nearly every town of sufficient size had its own opera house. Opera houses were used for more than just operas, though. They also hosted non-operatic theatrical productions, musical performances, public meetings, and lectures by noted speakers like Ms. Fox. Nettie Pease Fox was apparently fairly well received in Joplin but didn't cause the stir or stay as long as she had in Springfield.