Opera House history

This extraordinary building had its grand opening in February 1909 with plays given by the Chase-Lister Theatre Company.

The second story had offices along the South side, which were rented to attorneys, dentists and doctors.

The main part of the auditorium floor was for seating when plays and shows were held. The seating capacity was about 800. The chairs could be removed for dancing and other events. The third story held the balcony and more offices.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ellendale Opera House celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. 

This beautiful building was the site of a wide variety of events, beginning with traveling theater productions at the turn of the century. One of Ellendale's oldest attractions, the Opera House is located on West Main Street. The 3-story brick structure was built in 1908 when local businessmen decided to plan for the future of their town.

The building's future looked dim until a non-profit organization, O.P.E.R.A., Inc., took ownership from the city and began the restoration project.

Since 2002 they have put on a new roof, rebuilt the back wall, and renovated a section of the Main Street business space for a theater for the performing arts, and exhibit hall for artists and a community room. This room is called the Opera House Gallery & Lobby because it will become the lobby for the auditorium once restored. It will house an elevator which will take guests to the second and third floors.

O.P.E.R.A. Inc. is determined to bring the magnificent structure back to its grandeur and make it a meaningful part of the community. Money has been raised for a new facade on the old Randall's (grocery) part of the building. It is awaiting approval from the N.D. State Historic Society. The restoration is being done by a group of dedicated volunteers, with the help of grants, donations and fund-raising events.

Since the lobby has been completed, hundreds of events have been held in the building. 

If you'd like to visit the Opera House, stop by Crabtree Insurance or the Calico Cat to arrange for a tour. These businesses are also located on Main Street, west of Hwy. 281. Or, you can contact Jeanette Robb-Ruenz at 701-349-4329, or by email: jrbruenz@drtel.net

Contact Jeanette if you would like to rent the lobby for your special occasion.