Clarkson Opera House

340 Pine Street,
Clarkson, NE 68629

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Clarkson Opera House

The CSPS Lodge (Cesko Slovensky Podporujici Spolek), later to become ZCBJ was organized in Clarkson, Nebraska on May 21, 1888 with a membership of nineteen members. After World War I ended with the increase in membership and a demand for a bigger building, it was decided that an Opera House would be built. With the cooperation of the Clarkson Commercial Club and other civic organizations the ZCBJ proceeded to buy two lots for the construction of the opera house. The town was very much in favor of a large hall for dances, shows, home talent plays, etc. On Memorial Day of 1914, a public auction was held for the sale of the old CSPS Hall. The building was sold to Julius Wacha at a price of $3,350.00. The building of the Opera House commenced in 1915 and on September 1915 the corner stone was laid. On January 9, 1916 the ZCBJ held their first meeting in their new home. Since then the Clarkson Opera House was the scene of many a dance, home talent play, school program, basketball game, and many other gatherings.

Movies were shown in the early days and in the year 1930 the first talkie movies were presented to the public under the management of Peter Zak and Edward Makousky. In April of 1931 a cooling system was installed. In 1936 new movie equipment was purchased in order to improve the facilities for movie goers.

On December 1st, 1958 the Clarkson Opera House was leased by the local Lions Club and they continue to offer movies, this being one of the few movie houses in this area. Many public gatherings are still held here and will continue to be held due to the civic minded business men of Clarkson.

May 1963 – Movies were not well attended due to old equipment in use, and when a projectionist was lost in August 1964, movies were terminated.

May 1965 – VFW considered closing down the movie theater. A dance floor was installed in the basement area.

Contributed by Chris1982
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