Opera House history

This extraordinary building had its grand opening in February 1909 with plays given by the Chase-Lister Theatre Company.

The second story had offices along the south side, which were rented to attorneys, dentists and doctors.

The main part of the auditorium floor was for seating when plays and shows were held. The seating capacity was about 700. The chairs could be removed for dancing and other events. The third story is the auditorium balcony and more offices.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ellendale Opera House celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. 

This beautiful building has been the site of a wide variety of events, beginning with traveling theater productions at the turn of the century. It was built in 1909 when local businessmen decided to plan for the future of their town.

The building housed a basement billiards parlor and its Main Street storefront were once occupied by notable Ellendale businesses, including Randall's Grocery Store, Coleman Clothing and the Coast to Coast Hardware Store.

In the late 1980's the last of the tenants left the building and the city eventually took possession of the deteriorating structure.

In 1992, a non-profit organization – Organization of People in Ellendale for Restoration of the Arts, or O.P.E.R.A., Inc. – took over ownership and began restoration work.

Since that time, O.P.E.R.A. has installed a new roof, rebuilt the back wall, added ADA access and renovated a section of the Main Street storefronts into the Lobby & Gallery space used for theater performances, art exhibits and entertainment programs.

O.P.E.R.A. is determined to bring the magnificent structure back to its grandeur and full use by the community.

The restoration work is made possible by dedicated volunteers; local, state and federal grants; donations from current and former residents of Ellendale; and annual fund-raising events.

If you'd like to help with the renovation or volunteer, contact Justin Meidinger by email: jmmeid@hotmail.com or by phone, 701-535-0347.

Contact Justin if you would like to rent the lobby for your special occasion.