LOPER, HARRY T., a successful business man of Springfield, Ill., has been a resident of the city for the past thirty years and has been identified with various enterprises there. At present he is the owner and proprietor of the Lyric Moving Picture Theater, located at 223-225 South Fifth Street, and in this connection has built up a profitable business. Mr. Loper was born in Greenfield, Greene County, Ill., September 24, 1860, son of John T. and Susan E. (McBride) Loper. The paternal ancestors were early settlers of Illinois, descended from an old Kentucky family. Harry T. was the only child of John T. Loper and his wife. After receiving a good common school education in his native town, he learned the trade of painter, at which he worked for some time, and later became connected with preparing histories of various Illinois counties.
About 1880 Mr. Loper located in Springfield, where his first business enterprise was conducting a restaurant on Sixth Street, where the Postal-Telegraph Company's office is now located. He subsequently removed his business to East Washington, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, where he was located five years, then moved to Dwight, Ill., and became proprietor of the Hotel "Mozon". In 1893 Mr. Loper opened a restaurant at his present address, which enterprise proved successful and was continued until the restaurant was destroyed by riot August 14, 1908. When public sentiment was aroused against the colored prisoners, in 1908, lynching was agitated. The Sheriff increased his force of deputies, but excitement grew. He then called upon Mr. Loper as owner of a large touring car, deputizing him to take the prisoners out of the city, away from the excitement. As a loyal citizen, believing it was best to void mob law, Mr. Loper complied with the Sheriff's request. This infuriated the mob and rioting began. The mob first attacked Mr. Loper's place of business and then his automobile. The history of the events that followed is related in the general history of the county.
When Mr. Loper rebuilt his place he had it fitted suitably for a theater, having conducted the same since January, 1909. He has learned to understand what will please his patrons and has endeavored to give them the best value for their money he is able to secure. The productions given are among the best in the city and the manager has a reputation that is gratifying and wide-spread.
Mr. Loper was married in Springfield in 1886, to Mary J., daughter of Morris Power, deceased. Four children have been born of this union of whom three survive: Marie; Russell P. is in the employ of the Appleton Company of New York City and Henry A. Mr. Loper is much interested in public affairs and in the welfare of the community, and is considered an upright useful citizen. He is a Republican in political views and fraternally is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks, and has belonged to the Illinois National Guard since 1888, now having rank of Major and Chief Commissary Second Brigade.