AUBURN – The Auburn Historic Preservation Commission is pursuing renovation of the New Opera House, which was constructed in the 1890s and is an anchor of the downtown historic district.
The opera house at 921 Central Ave. gained notoriety for its opulent building façade and is considered a treasure not normally found in a town the size of Auburn. The building has storefronts on the ground level and theater space above. The upper floor possesses the building’s classical, elaborate ornamentation.
Administrative Assistant Kim Beger said renovation of the New Opera House will have far-reaching benefits.
Beger: “This would bring a lot of vitality back to downtown Auburn. We would be able to use the space how it was intended to be used for, for performances. We could also open it up for weddings, receptions and large meetings.”
The preservation commission will hire a Peru State College intern to provide additional research on buildings in the historic district and produce promotional materials for the opera house funding campaign.
Beger said the opera house is worthy of preservation and restoration.
Beger: “There used to be 350 opera houses in the state of Nebraska. Now there is currently approximately 50 and most of those are not in good, standing condition anymore. The Auburn Opera House is still in really good shape.”
The city is seeking a grant of $8,000 through the state’s Historic Preservation Fund.