Thalian Hall was built in 1855 and has served as Wilmington's center for theatre arts. After its opening, the theatre became a major success and continued its role during the Civil War hosting many performances for Confederate Soldiers. During Reconstruction, Thalian Hall suffered financial difficulties, though it later recovered. Famous actors including Oscar Wilde, Buffalo Bill and Lillian Russell made appearances in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Thalian Hall fell into disrepair during the 1940s and 1950s, but since 1973 a major renovation effort has taken place. The theatre retains much of its original architectural design and was used as a reference for the recent renovation of Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC.