Where did the Opera House come from?
Well, on November 19, 1914, Mr. Cruce announced plans to rebuild the Cruce Block that had been destroyed by fire on October 12, 1912. In this impressive structure, he built the Opera House. The building it was housed in still stands today.
The Opera House was a 50 x 75 foot structure with a seating capacity of 700 people. The main floor was 50 x 50 feet and it contained a balcony of 20 x 50 feet, 2 smaller balconies graced either side of the main floor area near the stage. The entrance was patterned after the fashion of the one on the Palace Theater and had a lobby with a colored tile floor and large plate glass windows.
A popcorn and peanut concession room stood on the right side of the lobby. The theater was built of brick and steel and heated by steam. The first floor contained 350 plush opera seats and the balconies were furnished with seats bought from the Star Theater in Nevada.
F.B. Churchill was the first manager. W. Gray was the second manager in 1917. On January 3, 1919, Gray leased the theater to A.E. Jarboe and the admission charge was 17 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
On May 29, 1919, Mr. Jarboe sold out to C.A. Bessier of Cameron, along with the showing of the latests movies, the theater was used for high school plays and the graduating class of 1924 held their commencement exercises there. The school plays were given there until the mid 1930s when a stage was erected in the Community Building and school plays and other school activites were moved there.
Mr. Bessier sold out to Walter Lovan in 1936. It was later run by Ray Brown and Joe Hendrix.
The building it was housed in still stands today, though it has hosted many businesses along the way, today it is back to it's original glory as a movie theater and community icon thanks to the efforts of the Alison family and others in our community during a revitalization project in downtown El Dorado Springs.
The historical Opera House Theater was renovated in 2007 by the Allison brothers. It was the first time that a movie theater played movies in our town since the 1970's. Due to change from 35mm to digital projection and the cost associated with it, the theater was shut down in 2012.
Recently, a group of local citizens formed a non-profit group, The Opera House Arts Council, to bring this historical theater up-to-date. Through a year and a half of fundraising, a pre-owned digital projector was able to be purchased. In 2016, Opera House Theater was opened again for the community of El Dorado Spring to view movies in this historic atmosphere.