Former resident looks back at growing up in Ellendale

A retrospective showing people and places we knew growing up in Ellendale during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s

A special reception for the artist will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the gallery/lobby Thursday, December 19. Light refreshments will be served.The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The Opera House will be open for viewing of the ‘Vision’ exhibit from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. each Thursday and Saturday in December (Dec. 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 and 28).

Take a visual trip back in time through the “Visions from my Childhood,” an art exhibit created by Kevin Kendall to be on display at the historic Opera House Gallery through December.

The exhibit of more than two dozen colored photo collages shows scenes, buildings and people from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s that Kevin has re-created through manipulation and colorization of old photographs, all enhanced by his memories of the period.

The images were originally created and posted on the Facebook page, “You know you’re from Ellendale. . . ,” a group page with hundreds of current and former residents.

Along with the exhibit, a special 20-page hardcover book is being created with Kevin’s artwork to commemorate the exhibit, and help raise funds for renovation of the historic Opera House.

If you donate $150 or more to the Opera House before the end of the year, you’ll receive a copy of the book showcasing the people and places that made growing up in Ellendale special.

The 4-color book will make a perfect holiday gift for a friend or family member who grew up in and around Ellendale.

Scenes from Kevin’s memory include the NoDak Cafe, Houghton’s Meat Market, Otto Gerling’s Blacksmith Shop, Hall’s Cafe, Sam’s Drive-In, Merrick’s 5 & Dime, the Lyric Theater, Redlin Implement, Pheasant Lake, Graham Law Office, Randall’s Grocery, Coleman Clothing, Anderson’s Rexall Drugstore, Mile Bridge and many more.

To reserve your copy, send your check (payable to O.P.E.R.A., Inc.) to P.O. Box 334, Ellendale, ND 58436, or visit the Opera House web site ( to make an online donation of $150 or more.

O.P.E.R.A., Inc., the charitable non-profit organization that owns the Opera House, kicked off its Phase I capital campaign – Building Our Future & Preserving Our Past – last September.

The capital campaign is raising $560,000 to fund renovation of the street-level storefront spaces, replace all windows, landscape around the building and repair basement water/ moisture issues.

The renovation campaign is about one-third of the way to its goal.

After the exhibit closes at the end of the year, the mounted canvas enlargements will be auctioned off to benefit the Opera House.

Kevin is a 1970 graduate of Ellendale High School and he and his wife, Vikki (Hausmann) now live in Warner, S.D.

“The reason I started doing these pictures was to be able to show my family and friends the wonderful times we all had growing up in a much simpler time without all the technology,” Kendall said. “I wanted to be able to express how I felt and still feel about that magical town.”

“My folks both suffered from the devastating illness of dementia and were not able to have the memories that we all need to remind us of all the good or bad things that have happened in our lives,” he said. “The response from both the younger and older members of the Ellendale community has been overwhelming at times.

“If I can keep doing this to help give other folks the joy of remembering I will do it.”

How to donate to the opera house:


  • Or, simply mail your check payable to: O.P.E.R.A., Inc., P.O. Box 334, Ellendale, ND 58436.

  • For more information, contact Executive Director Justin Meidinger Phone: 701.535.0347 / Email:

  • For more information about the Phase I capital fund drive, CLICK HERE.