Island Falls Opera House Restoration

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:11 AM EST
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A piece of Island Falls’ history is being restored by a couple who recently purchased it. We take a look behind those once closed doors of the Island Falls Opera House.

Megan: What was once a place for entertainment has slowly been falling into decay. And with that decay was a loss of its history as well. Chris Hartin recently purchased the Island Falls Opera House with hope of restoring it.

Hartin: It was originally just this part that was built in 1894, and was used as just a display area for people that were traveling -- traveling acts and things like that. It wasn’t a movie theater until the 20′s, and they started doing silent films. And they would have people playing the piano or singing to kind of go along with it.

Megan: The building also has a living area and store that is attached to it. Hartin says that he wanted to purchase and restore the building to preserve a piece of the town’s history.

Hartin: Just make sure the place can continue to stand for years to come and more generations to enjoy, it’s about all I can really say. I don’t really have 100% of the history and 100% of the knowledge yet. I’m still learning a bit everyday.

Megan: He adds that the community is very supportive.

Hartin: Any light in here that hasn’t been on for years and years has drawn a lot of attention. It’s been good attention. A lot of people just kind of pop in and they wanted to see what was going on. And with the whole COVID thing, we’ve kind of been really you know leery about doing too much on any grand scale. So we’re just kind of playing it by ear on that too. But we’ve had a couple people give a little bit of money. Like a lady sent some money up to put some little candles -- flicker candles in the windows. She wanted to see that when she came by for Christmas, so we went ahead and did that.

Megan: While there is still plenty of work that needs to be done, Hartin is hoping to open the opera house up for tours in a couple weeks. Megan Cole, NewsSource 8.

Additional info: - The Opera House is located at 69 Burleigh Street, in Island Falls.

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