Newberry Opera House

1201 McKibben Street,
Newberry, SC 29108

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The Newberry Opera House was completed in 1881 at a cost of $30,000. C.L. Norman, architect from Columbia, S.C., designed the French Gothic inspired structure. Silent “moving pictures” were shown at the Opera House in the early-1900’s. A “Thomas Edison Talkie” was presented in the late teens. It used a phonograph record for sound. Slowly, movies replaced the big stage shows, and in the 1920’s the Opera House was remodeled as a movie theater.

In 1952 with the showing of “The Outlaw”, the Opera House was closed as a movie theater. By 1959, there was talk about tearing it down, but a public outcry stopped the wrecking ball. The Newberry Historical Society in 1969 promoted the preservation of the Opera House, as did several other community groups. In 1970 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The City of Newberry vacated the building in 1992. The exterior restoration and window replacement were completed in 1994. It is now host to the South Carolina Opera Company and Asheville Lyric Opera.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 7, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1969

Newberry Opera House (added 1969 – Building – #69000171)
Boyce and Nance Sts., Newberry
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Normann,Gottfried L.
Architectural Style: Gothic
Area of Significance: Architecture, Entertainment/Recreation
Period of Significance: 1875-1899
Owner: Local Gov’t
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Music Facility, Theater
Current Function: Government, Work In Progress
Current Sub-function: Government Office

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 29, 2008 at 3:31 am

This is an exterior photo and here is an interior view.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 3, 2009 at 1:44 am

Two more interior photos are here and here.

Jeff1 on December 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Ads for the Opera House Theater (sometimes referred to as the Opera House Wells Theater) last appear in the Newberry Observer newspaper during September, 1941. On October 13, 1941 Fulmer Wells opened The Wells Theater.

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