1872-73: West Side Opera
The fire in October of 1871 transformed Chicago. Cotton joined with a new collective enterprise that put even greater emphasis upon theatre. Arlington, Cotton & Kemble's Minstrels looked like the forerunner of Variety and Vaudeville. During the summers Cotton toured with a troupe, headed by Billy Emerson, and sent East under the management of Tom Maguire. It was also a period of time when Cotton's first family fell apart, principally because he was creating a second.