The Building and the Site. The Academy of Music could seat about 1400 persons on the second floor of the building it occupied; stores filled the ground floor. It stood on North Street just north of Genesee Street, abutting the Owasco River. That placed it about 200 feet north of the Orestes Brownson newspaper office location, today’s Phoenix Building. It replaced Corning Hall, one of Auburn's first large assembly halls, on the same site. The date of its construction is unknown, but it must have occurred between November 1868 and December 1871. Its builder was businessman and brewery owner Cary S. Burtis.
In 1889, four years after Ingersoll first trod its stage, the Academy of Music was remodeled and renamed the Burtis Opera House after its founder. This may have been done by Cary Burtis's son, Edwin C. Burtis, in tribute to his father. It is known that Edwin succeeded his father in operating the latter's brewery in that year, so it is possible he took over operation of the theater as well.