The Delphi Opera House in Delphi, Indiana was once the hub of social entertainment.
More than just great architecture, this Delphi, Indiana landmark is a very unique link to the past.
Delphi Opera House in Delphi, Indiana
Built back in 1865, the Opera House is actually located on the third floor. Climb two very steep flights of stairs made with hoop skirts in mind. It was used more as an event hall than anything else.
It wasn’t until the floor was built up with risers twenty years later that the Delphi Opera House became the place to be! So much so, in fact, that performers came from all over–even James Whitcomb Riley!
The famed poet was struck with inspiration after visiting a pond in Delphi that he had to write a poem about it. You may already be familiar with The Old Swimmin’ Hole.
As you can see from the photo, visiting performers left their mark on the place. Literally. Actors and actresses signed their names along the back wall behind the stage, sometimes drawing pictures. Self portraits, perhaps? Occasionally they scribbled in the date (which I love). Unfortunately, no one has found James Whitcomb Riley’s name yet. Will you?
Delphi, Indiana Opera House History
Once upon a time, the connecting building was a hotel that the various performers used to get ready before hopping over to go onstage. The old door has long since been bricked over and the building next door is now an upper level apartment.
The Opera House managed to stay in business, competing against, I believe, two others in Delphi, until 1915 when the place was shut down. A third floor Opera House with only one way out does not make for a safe place in case of fire! The Opera House fell into a state of decay and was mainly used as storage.
As you can probably tell from my Images from Delphi Opera House in Delphi, Indiana article, this place is really in need of renovation. Fortunately, the Delphi Preservation Society has come to the rescue, receiving grants and donations to recreate or save many of its amazing features, and bring it back to its former glory.
There are so many reasons to head to this small Indiana town–the Opera House is a must see attraction!
You can be sure that little Indiana is going to keep tabs on this one.
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!
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