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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The McPherson Opera House: A Brief History

The McPherson Opera House:
A Brief History
McPherson, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

       The McPherson Opera House didn’t always look the way it looks now.  It wasn’t always listed as a place of historical significance on the historical register.  For years it sat in disrepair as an eyesore on a prominent corner in McPherson.  One day some bricks fell from the front onto the sidewalk and the great opera house debate began.

      Should it be torn down or revitalized?  The debate waged on and everyone chose sides.  Those bricks kept falling, the ceiling began to cave in and the building wasn’t fit for human habitation.  The one business still located there had to move out.  There was more talk and both sides became very vocal about the fate of the building.

      There’s a saying in show business “that the show isn’t over until the fat lady sings”.  This phrase was repeated around town so much, that one day the McPherson Sentinel ran an ad:  The fat lady will sing in front of the opera house on Friday at 7 pm.  Of course, the entire town turned out on every sidewalk, street corner, driveway, parking lot, and lined up across the street from the building; which by now had become so unsafe it wasn't safe to walk down the sidewalk in front of the building and the sidewalk and off street parking was now cordoned off with chain link fence.  

      No one showed up to sing.  And there was much speculation around town as to why no one showed up and what did all this mean.  Shortly thereafter, work began on the opera house.  Many years and millions of dollars later, it became the beautiful building it is today.  

     Entertainment is the main reason for this opera house to come into being in the first place and every year features an extensive list of events, some pictured here.  

    Leading the opera house into a new era is its director, John Holecek, looking quite dapper on show night.  Tonight it was Joseph Hall's Elvis show.

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