You are here

Mount Horeb Opera Block

-A A +A
1895, Gordon and Paunack. 109–117 E. Main St.

When a town was still young, community functions took place in churches or in rental halls in the upper floors of commercial blocks. But as a town grew, as Mount Horeb did beginning in the 1880s, local business people often pooled their resources to build a larger downtown facility—in the parlance of the day, an opera house. Dances, lectures, magic lantern shows, masquerades, concerts, political rallies, and high school commencements entertained, informed, and celebrated the community. This building shows an exuberant mixture of styles. The Queen Anne turret has wooden shingles, fluted pilasters, a column-and-arch motif, and a dentil course below the cornice. Romanesque Revival details include the arched entrance lined with quarry-cut stone, a row of round-arched windows on the second story, a corbeled cornice, a tiny arcade between the gabled wall-dormers, and checkerboard and diamond brickwork. The architects, J. O. Gordon and Fred Paunack, led one of Madison’s most prestigious architectural firms at the turn of the twentieth century.

The owners of the Opera Block rented the first-floor retail spaces and the second- and third-story office spaces to local businesses. The opera hall itself occupied a two-story-tall space above the shops at the west end of the building. After the turn of the twentieth century, it hosted fewer performances, although it screened silent movies after 1907. When the opera house closed in 1922, the hall became home to the Masonic Lodge and the related women’s group, the Order of the Eastern Star.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
×

Data

What's Nearby

Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Mount Horeb Opera Block", [Mount Horeb, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-DA4.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 430-430.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,