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Blue Mounds Opera House

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c. 1868. 2969 Main St.

The Opera House was once the center of activity in Blue Mounds. Traveling performers and speakers entertained local audiences in the upstairs hall, which also hosted dances and eighth-grade graduation ceremonies. Patrons accessed the opera hall by an exterior staircase to the porch’s second story and entered the auditorium through the upstairs door. The hall remains intact, with a raked or slanted stage set within a wooden proscenium arch featuring fluted pilasters and dentils. The tongue-and-groove wainscot and ceiling and the maple dance floor look as they did when the building opened its doors. Many of the canvas backdrops from the early twentieth century remain.

Outside, a false front makes the building appear taller and more substantial than it actually is. It expresses a vernacular version of the Italianate style, with bracketed cornices and dentil courses. The two-story porch to the south is a reconstruction similar to the original, except for the columns and spindle patterns. Men who attended events in the opera hall—and those who did not—gathered in the saloon downstairs, which occupied the storefront. The pressed metal ceiling, with its oval pattern, and the bull’s eyes in the glass of the door are original, but the wooden staircase inside is an addition. In 1991, Michael and Deb Doud rehabilitated the building as a center for musical and theatrical events.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Data

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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Blue Mounds Opera House", [Blue Mounds, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-DA2.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 429-429.

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