Ingersoll Auburn Lecture Site

The Academy of Music as it appeared in the 1870s. Image courtesy of Cayuga County Historian Linda C. Frank.

On Wednesday, January 21, 1885, Robert Green Ingersoll, America’s foremost freethought orator, delivered his controversial lecture "Orthodoxy" at Auburn’s Academy of Music.

The theater stood on North Street just north of Genesee Street, about 200 feet north of the Orestes Brownson newspaper office location, today’s Phoenix Building.

In 1889, four years after Ingersoll spoke, the Academy of Music was remodeled and renamed the Burtis Opera House. The Burtis was razed at an unknown date. The site is now occupied by a Brutalist Modern concrete commercial structure of apparent 1960s - 1970s vintage.