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Long term future of historic opera house in question

Posted at 11:03 PM, Jan 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 00:03:14-05

DAVID CITY, Neb. (KMTV) — The Thorpe Opera House is one of the most well known places in David City. Its been standing for more than 130 years. The building needs more than one million dollars in repairs and if that money isn't raised the future of it, is in question.

"It's probably the biggest most obvious building in town," said Beth Klosterman, former owner of the opera house. The two story building was built back in 1889, and is home to a ton of history. "We know we can fill the place and we know we can bring people from Omaha and Lincoln, York and Columbus but we don't have the facility right now that we feel safe about doing it," said Klosterman.

As you might imagine a building more than 130 years old needs some work. A steep staircase to get to the 2nd floor opera house isn't ideal which makes elevators needed. Bathroom upgrades are also a priority, and bricks on the east wall continue to fall off.

Klosterman bought the opera house back in 1979 with the goal of saving it. That dream still lives on today. She says those involved with the building were given an estimate of $3,000,000.00 dollars to fix everything. The opera house has tried to raise money but those efforts haven't gotten them much in return. If that money doesn't come along, those repairs may never happen, which means the building would cease to exist.

"It would be a total shame if we lost this whole building, so I think we need to take the time to find a way to preserve it and make it usable so everybody can really enjoy the historic value of the building," said Jacque Masek, current manager of the opera house.

If the building was torn down one day, the city would also lose offices and businesses that are located on the first floor.

Even with all the work, and the price for those upgrades, Klosterman is confident the opera house will get the funds needed to keep the place alive. "It's a project worth doing, it really would enhance the community," said Klosterman.

To get in contact with the opera house if you would like to donate to the repairs:

(402) 367-4260

Thorpe Opera House - on Facebook