Today I was fortunate enough to attend a performance at the Jamestown Opera House built in 1889. It sits almost in the middle of the small town of Jamestown, Ohio. One of the performers sang a capella, without a microphone, and the sound was amazing. The song reverberated through the auditorium – the acoustics were that good. Not long ago this building was in danger of being demolished. It had been empty since 1997, when the library and village government offices moved to their new building. Until 2009, the last performance there had been in 1937.
A few years after the Jamestown Opera House had stood vacant, a group of concerned citizens formed the Jamestown Area Historical Society (JAHS), with the main goal of restoring the opera house so it could be used again as a focal point for the community. Over the course of ten years, the JAHS raised and spent $400,000 on renovating the opera house, not counting the grants and volunteer time.
The Jamestown Opera House is once again holding performances, and the goals of the JAHS are to finish restoring the opera house and to get more people to attend the performances. Although it is not completely restored, it has come a long way.