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Grainfield, KS : Community : Grainfield Opera House


Opera House 1887The Grainfield Opera House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a stately and historic structure situated in the business district of Grainfield. Its unique architecture makes it one of only two Opera Houses standing yet, with an ornate cast iron and galvanized front made by the Mesker Bros. In the early days this building served as a storefront as well as a town meeting place. Over the years many businesses have occupied all three levels of the Opera House. The Grainfield Lions Club along with many volunteers have been renovating the Opera House since 1995, and now it showcases annual craft fairs, the Christmas lighting and raffle, high school prom, family reunions, and much more. Lifetime memberships are available, and volunteer work and donations are always welcome. If you'd like to help preserve the heritage of the old frontier, inquire at the Grainfield Opera House.

History:
  • Construction began in April 1887
  • In January 1888, the building opened its doors to the first business - the Cap Sheaf newspaper
  • By 1944, the Opera House became a recreation hall for its youth. A bowling alley was installed in the lower room of the Opera House.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, the Opera House accommodated several businesses. All businesses closed and the building remained empty after 1980.
  • Then in 1994 citizens displayed interest in refurbishing the Opera House
  • On Dec. 22, 1995 Joan Dingworth donated the Opera House to the Grainfield Lions Club
  • The Grainfield Opera House, Inc. took ownership on Oct. 25, 2016
  • Read more detailed information about the Opera House history here.

Other occupants of the building were:

  • Dry goods store
  • Harness shop
  • Hardware & furniture store
  • Grocery store
  • Car dealership
  • Home & auto store
  • General mercantile store
  • Tire shop
  • Plumbing & appliance store
  • Masonic Lodge
  • VFW Post
  • Doctor's office
  • Private school
  • First high school classes
  • Read more detailed information about the Opera House previous owners and occupants here.

Activities:
In November 1888 the Opera House hosted:

  • Church carnivals
  • Comedians
  • Concerts
  • Dances
  • Hypnotists
  • Magicians
  • Movies
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  • School classes, commencements & proms
  • Vaudeville
  • Wrestling & boxing matches

Volunteers and the Grainfield Lions Club:

  • Established the Grainfield Opera House, Inc. on Aug. 22, 1998
  • Formed a six member governing board
  • Received grants from Kansas Heritage Trust Fund, and Dane G. Hansen, and Midwest Energy
  • Provided over 15,000 volunteer hours to preserve, renovate, and maintain the historic structure

Board Members:
Herb Queen, President
Diana Kaiser, Secretary/Treasurer
Bonnie Wilson

Ron Eberle
Jan McCubbin
Dee Foster

To Tour, Rent or Volunteer Time Call:
Herbert Queen - for bookings (785) 673-5585
Diana Kaiser (785) 938-4416


Elvis Show at the Opera House

Opera-tunity Craft Show
Opera House 2009Frank's Attribute to Elvis on the stage upstairs!

Needed Renovations:

  • Repair and patch plaster walls
  • General maintenance

Current Uses:

  • Annual Craft Fairs
  • Annual Christmas lighting, Santa Claus, music and raffle
  • Blood drives
  • Bithday parties
  • Building tours
  • Elvis Show
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  • Family reunions
  • Graduation receptions
  • High school prom
  • Legislator town hall meetings
  • Proms
  • Showers
  • Weddings

On Display:
Collection of water color paintings of Smokey Hills Trails by Tom Currey bought by Herbert Hopkins “Hop” Sutcliffe at Wallace County Museum art show and donated by Betty (Sutcliffe) Blocksome and Kent Blocksome to the Grainfield Opera House in 2013.  Tom Currey was an art professor at Colby Community College.

Maps of the Western Cattle Trails 1874-1886

Many articles of memorabilia of the past are displayed on the ground floor and in the basement.

Pictures of the senior classes of the Grainfield Rural High School from 1920 to 1968 and other articles from the school are displayed.

Renovations:

All new concrete floors in the basement have been installed.
Shelves for storage and display of memorabilia are in the basement.
A serving island with sink has been installed on the ground floor.
An elevator to access all three floors was installed in 2012.
A ramp for improved access to the building for the handicapped has been installed.

Membership:
For $25.00 per person, you will receive a Lifetime Membership and voting privileges at the Annual Meeting to elect the directors

Location:
Corner of Third Street and Main Street

Donations are welcome at any time, for any amount. All donations are used for the repair and up keep of the building and are tax exempt as part of the 501(c) 3 organization.

Send donations to:
Grainfield Opera House
PO Box 116
Grainfield, KS 67737

 
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