- The First Seventy-five Years in the Sanborn Community (1878-1953) -
The Opera House
On October 7, 1905, a group of civic minded business men and citizens of Sanborn met in the office of the Sanborn Savings Bank for the purpose of organizing an Opera House Company. The draft of Articles of Incorporation were read. Officers elected were E.M. Brady, president; G.M. Slocum, secretary; J.H. Daly, treasurer; board of directors: E.C. Tangney, H.F. Addy, E.M. Brady, J.F. Kerberg and E.A. Mayne.
The capital stock of the Opera House company was set at $5000.00. On Oct. 20, 1905, the directors met and appointed J.F. Kerberg and E.C. Tangney a building committee to act during the construction of the Sanborn Opera House. The original edifice with a Moorish style front in architecture, built of light colored pressed brick. There were 28 original stockholders namely: E.M. Brady, Mayne & Kings, E.C. Tangney, Addy & Shea, Kehrberg & Proextor, G.M. Slocum, Theo. Zimmerman, W.B. Cantrall, R.M. Boyd, Bruce Edgarton Lumber Co., C.A. Babcock, R.D. McMillen, Thos. Maroney, J.A. Donnelly, J.A. Wilcox, Jas. McCormack, J.M. Hansen, Geo. N. McCullow, M.B. Martini, A.W. Solon, T.A. Biggs, T.W. Farnsworth, M.M. Burns, J.H. Daly, J.R. Brady, C.B. Rentz, Peter Hickey, W.H. Foley.
In January, 1906, J.F. Kerberg was elected general manager of the Opera House which was used for all city activities. At the Grand Opening Ralph Riggs Co. presented three high class plays. There were suppers, fairs and dances during the opening days. The opera house was a large well furnished building of which Sanborn was proud.
From old files of the Sanborn Pioneer we read:
At Citizens Opera House, April 23, 1908 - Trousdale Bros. Stock Co. opens a 3-night engagement at the Citizens Opera House April 25 and will present three of the best plays ever presented among them being “Graustark” and “The Clansmen”. The Trousdale Bros. are the only company presenting them west of the Mississippi. Admission: children 15c, adults 25c, reserved seats 35c.
Sept. 1908 - Ralph Riggs Company at the Citizens Opera House.
There were no stock company shows after July 1, 1915.
The cyclone of 1914 caused some damage to the building and in July 1932 the old brick front which was considered unsafe for further public gatherings was torn down and in its place appeared a new stucco front. The roof of the building was reshingled.
A July 7, 1932 issue of The Pioneer states that the work of remodeling the opera house building is nearing completion. The opera house is a large roomy structure, ideal for all kinds of public gatherings and we appreciate the progressive spirit of the operas house personnel in making these improvements.
On Sept. 25, 1941, at a meeting of the stockholders it was decided to sell the opera house building to the highest bidder as only seven of the stockholders were residents of Sanborn and the business and management of the building was left to a few.
Many are the changes in a community over a period of 36 years. Folks travel a greater distance for their entertainment and thus ended the Sanborn Opera House Company, for in October, 1941, the building was sold to Dale Dick, Jr., at a great sacrifice, the sum being $800.