Chester City Hall and Opera House

Corner of West End and Columbia Sts., Chester, South Carolina


Chester City Hall and Opera House

Photo taken by Joseph Hinson

View this photo on Flickr


Street View 


Built in 1890-91 by Columbia architect, Frank Munson, the Chester City Hall and Opera House has a long history of cultural and civic activity. The building’s extensive and elaborate use of brick and principal construction material enhances its massive Romanesque Revival style.

The façade is arranged in three distinct phases. The tower at left dominates the gabled central section which in turn dominates the less ornate section on the right. Originally all three entrances of the façade were recessed, Roman arches with ornate keystones and voussoirs formed by one stretcher/one header design. A stringcourse between the first two floors has a foliated design.

Since 1891, this building has been the hub of Chester’s political activity. The city administrative offices have been located here since the building’s construction. The city jail and fire department had also used the building before moving to new facilities. The Chester Police Department still uses this building in 2018.

At one point in time, the now defunct Carolina & Northwestern Railway had offices here.

The third floor was originally designed for use as an Opera House complete with gallery, box seats, dress circle and pit seats. The Opera House was also the scene of many community festivities such as talent shows, graduation exercises, recitals and concerts. When the interior was renovated following the 1929 fire, the Opera House was not restored. The fire also destroyed the original spire tower which contained a four-faced clock. Listed in the National Register March 30, 1973. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 30, 1973
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Romanesque
Areas of significance
Architecture; Performing Arts
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
City hall; Theater
Current functions
Correctional facility; Fire station; City hall
Period of significance
Significant years
1890; 1891

Update Log 

  • August 26, 2018: Photo imported by Joseph Hinson
  • July 5, 2017: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • July 30, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description"
  • October 29, 2013: New photo from Michael Miller
  • December 20, 2012: Updated by Joseph Hinson: Added photo and information
  • December 20, 2012: Updated by Joseph Hinson: Added photo and information
  • December 20, 2012: New Street View added by Joseph Hinson

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