Vermontville Opera House

120 E. First St., 219 S. Main St., Vermontville, Michigan

Photos 

Oblique view from southwest quadrant.

Photo taken by Nathan Holth in July 2010

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Map 

Street View 

Essay 

Written by Nathan Holth

Property Type opera house
Historic Use GOVERNMENT/city hall
Current Use EDUCATION/library
Style Late Victorian

Architect/Builder
John York
Rawson and Brown

Narrative Description
The Vermontville Opera House is a rectangular, three-story structure containing a level-floor auditorium with rear gallery above a first story. The building has a mansard roof and walls faced in concrete block on the first story and red brick above. A square tower standing at the building's corner has a bell-shaped roof with a weathervane at its apex. The building's lower story contained the township and village offices and fire department, but now houses the public library. The opera house proper occupies the second story and is reached through a double-door entry at the head of a staircase in the tower front. Segmental-arch windows also pierce the second-story walls and have cut stone sills and caps with keystones. The building's main cornice appears to be of pressed metal, with brackets and a broad frieze displaying decorative bosses.
Statement of Significance
The Vermontville Opera House is a well preserved example of the combination town hall/auditorium building which many Michigan communities were building in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such buildings were viewed as emblems of progress, symbolic of the physical growth and development of their communities and of their cultural aspirations. The Vermontville Opera House was a focal point for the villages' social, cultural, and political affairs from the time of its completion in 1898 and, although the building no longer houses the township and village offices, it remains a prime public meeting place. The building is a relatively early and particularly well preserved example of a building type commonly built in smaller Michigan towns and cities beginning in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Marker Name
Opera House
Marker Text
OPERA HOUSE Vermontville Opera House, completed in 1898, is still the main center of community activities. The two-story red brick structure with cutstone foundation, and an off-center tower over the front entrance, was constructed with funds solicited from the township and village. Stage plays, political events, social gatherings, and religious services have taken place here. L. Vern Slout and his players, one of Michigan's oldest tent companies gave first and last performances in this opera hall, now used in part as a public library.

Period of Significance 1895-1943
Significant Date(s) 1896-98
Registry Type(s) 03/01/1978 Marker erected
07/14/1993 National Register listed
01/16/1976 State Register listed
Site ID# P25456

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 14, 1993
Reference number
93000620
Architectural style
Victorian
Areas of significance
Entertainment/Recreation; Architecture
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic functions
City hall; Auditorium
Current functions
Auditorium; Library
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949
Significant years
1895; 1896

Update Log 

  • July 11, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • July 9, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth