April 24, 2024
Montpelier, US 47 F

Haunted Vermont, Folklore & much more…

Enosburg Falls Opera House: A Cultural Gem and a Haunting

Enosburg Opera House

Photo above is courtesy of Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The Enosburg Falls Opera House stands as a testament to history and community spirit, a beacon of cultural significance nestled in the heart of a small Vermont town. Its meticulously preserved Victorian architecture and rich interior details offer a glimpse into a bygone era, inviting visitors to step back in time.

Standing tall in the village center of Enosburg Falls and situated midway down Depot Street between Pleasant Street and Route 108, this cultural landmark is easy to spot with its eminent square tower rising multiple stories atop the rectangular wood-framed building.

Clad in classic clapboard siding and capped by a gable-on-hip roof, the opera house cuts an imposing figure along the north side of the road. A recessed main entrance along the front facade welcomes visitors into the high-ceilinged basement level.

Supported by dedicated volunteers and local organizations, the Opera House has not only weathered the test of time but has also evolved to meet the demands of the modern world. As we explore the layers of history and the vibrant events hosted within its walls, we come to appreciate the Opera House not just as a cultural gem but as a living, breathing chronicle of artistic expression.

Historical Background and Renovation

The Enosburg Falls Opera House's historical background and renovation showcase its evolution from a community center constructed in 1892 to a National Register of Historic Places-listed cultural gem after its extensive restoration in 2000.

The Enosburg Opera House has a rich history dating back to it's 1892 construction date, when it was commissioned by successful local businessman Dr. B.J. Kendall as a gift to the townspeople. Built in the popular Queen Anne architectural style of the era, the $10,000 opera house features distinctive towers, expansive windows, and a stately central entrance hall.

Initially serving as a venue for dances, town meetings, and various events, the Opera House underwent significant renovations that preserved its historical significance while enhancing its structural integrity. The restoration work in 2000 breathed new life into the Victorian-era building, ensuring its place as a vital cultural hub in Enosburg Falls.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Opera House stands as a testament to the town's rich heritage and commitment to preserving its architectural treasures.

Haunted Connection

haunted ghost in the attic

Over the decades, the opera house earned a reputation as a hot spot for paranormal occurrences. Employees and visitors have reported disembodied voices, unexplained footsteps, and self-operating elevators which are blamed on the ghost of a young worker named Willy who perished in the attic.

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UVM's Cake Walks

In addition to live entertainment, the opera house hosted the once-common charity “cake walks” events inspired by 19th-century African American parodies of plantation balls. While UVM's annual “Kake Walk” show lasted until 1969, today the opera house focuses on uplifting community theater productions.

Recent History

Now operated as a nonprofit overseen by Andrew and Em Frappier, the organization leases the space from the town and runs seasonal plays, musicals, youth summer camps, and hosts events from concerts to weddings, carrying on a legacy over a century old.

Thanks to dedicated volunteers called the Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls who assumed management duties in 1998, renovations and upkeep ensure this cultural landmark continues enriching the community for generations to come.

Architectural Features

After its extensive restoration in 2000, the Enosburg Falls Opera House showcases remarkable architectural features that reflect its Victorian-era charm and historical significance. The opera house boasts Victorian-style architecture characterized by elaborate interior decorations and rich historical details throughout the building.

One of its prominent features is the stage with a proscenium arch, enhancing the theatrical experience for performers and audiences alike. Additionally, the opera house offers balcony seating, providing a unique vantage point for attendees.

These architectural elements not only contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the venue but also transport visitors back in time to experience the grandeur of the Victorian era.

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Cultural Significance and Community Support

Noteworthy for its pivotal role in the town's artistic community, the Enosburg Falls Opera House embodies cultural significance by serving as an important cultural hub in Enosburg Falls. It showcases local talent and performances, contributing significantly to the town's artistic community.

This historic venue is not only a symbol of community pride but also a cornerstone for artistic expression and creativity. The Opera House's cultural significance is further enhanced by the strong community support it receives.

Local organizations and volunteers actively support the Opera House, recognizing its value in preserving the town's cultural heritage and providing a platform for artistic endeavors. The collective efforts of the community ensure the Opera House continues to thrive as a cultural centerpiece in Enosburg Falls.

Restoration Efforts and Funding

Restoration efforts and funding for the Enosburg Falls Opera House have been crucial in preserving its historical integrity and ensuring its continued operation as a cultural centerpiece in the community. Extensive restoration work in 2000 focused on preserving the original architectural elements while also upgrading technical equipment to accommodate modern performances.

Funding for these endeavors was primarily sourced from donations and grants, reflecting the community's commitment to maintaining this historical landmark. By securing the necessary financial support, the Opera House has been able to not only maintain its physical structure but also enhance its capabilities as a venue for a wide range of events, further solidifying its importance within the cultural landscape of Enosburg Falls.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Enosburg Falls Opera House stands as a significant cultural landmark in the community, showcasing Victorian-style architecture and hosting a variety of events that contribute to the town's artistic landscape. Through extensive renovations and ongoing community support, this iconic venue continues to thrive as a symbol of community pride and unity.

With its rich history and commitment to cultural enrichment, the Opera House remains a vital cultural centerpiece in Enosburg Falls.

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