Opera House stages slice of history

Aug 8, 2005 1:53 AM


One of the most popular entertainment attractions 100 years ago was the classic opera house, and Cripple Creek had one of the best — the Butte Opera House.

The "Butte Concert and Beer Hall" premiered in about 1896, and later reopened as the Butte Opera House.

The opera house experienced limited success. For awhile it served as a dancing academy, then a furniture warehouse and an ice skating rink.

From about 1915 to the 1930s, the building was used as an auto garage. The building was purchased in the 1970s and eventually served as a fire house for the Cripple Creek Fire Department.

Then early in 1999, the city of Cripple Creek began extensive renovations to refurbish the former theater with fresh paint, Victorian-era wallpaper, and period chandeliers. A 1,350-square foot stage spans the main room, with seating for 174 guests. The sound booth is equipped with state-of-the-art movie projectors and sound equipment. A snack bar, roomy dressing rooms and tastefully decorated lavatories complete the historic atmosphere.
Today, the Butte Opera House Foundation provides support for community events at the theater, which frequently presents live theater, opera and other shows.