Grand Opera House

425 E. Fourth Street,
Dell Rapids, SD 57022

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Grand Opera House

Dell Rapids' history records a great fire of 1888, after which residents made a resounding cry to have an opera house in their town. J.A. Cooley, a respected businessman, and M.R. Kenefick, a local lawyer and former Dell Rapids mayor, announced plans to construct a two-story building with an opera house and seating for nearly 450 people.

The Clair Patee Company was the first group to initiate the Grand Opera House in 1888 performing plays including “The Martyr” and “A Night Off”. From vaudeville and music concerts to minstrel and medicine shows, the Opera House hosted amateur productions, theatre groups and specialty acts.

In 1912, the O'Leary brothers purchased the building adding a projection booth, changing the opera house to a movie theater. Silent movies were first shown there, adding sound in the late-1920’s.

The Grand Opera House has been restored to its original Romanesque Revival splendor. Movies had ceased by 2016 and the theatre now presents live performances and is also a banquet hall.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 20, 2014 at 10:13 am

The Grand Opera House in Dell Rapids is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. They show 200 seats. William Parker was Mgr. The proscenium opening was 30 feet wide X 18 feet high, and the stage was 30 feet deep. The theater was on the second floor. There were 2 hotels for show folk and 2 weekly newspapers in town. Railroad was the Milwaukee Road. The 1897 population was 1,500.

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