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The Opera House

Bozeman Opera House stained glass at the Museum of the Rockies. Image courtey

Dear Mrs. Babcock,

When the opera house was here it had a room for storage, a fire station, a police department, a library, a city hall, jail sells, a dressing room, and an opera house. John Bogart was mayor back then. He wanted the opera house so that Bozeman would be respected. They might get the capital. The opera house could fit over 900 people, and the seats were moveable. There was a heating tower to dry the hoses for the fire station. On opening day there was a bridge from the Bozeman hotel to the opera house. It was for women so they would not get their dresses wet. The jail cells were under the dressing room. The removable chairs were for meetings and dances.




Dear Mrs. Babcock,

The opera house played a very important part in Bozeman’s history. It was built in 1889 across the street of the Bozeman Hotel and showed people that Bozeman was a respectable city. It was also built to try and get Montana’s capital. Inside the Opera House, there was a public library, City Hall, a courthouse, a firehouse, and a tower for drying out the fire hoses. There also was a police station with three jail cells, one for women, two for men. The cells were located right underneath the actors’ dressing rooms. The opera house had a flagpole that was 100 feet tall, painted gold, and had an eagle figurine on top. The opera house also had a large auditorium that fit 900 people. The entry way was a sandstone arch, and above it was a beautiful stained glass. You can find the stained glass at the Museum of the Rockies.

You could find many people at the opera house. There even was a temporary bridge across Main Street into the opera house so people’s nice clothes wouldn’t get muddy. But when movie theaters came to Bozeman, the opera house wasn’t used quite as much. Later, the building was used for storage, and in 1965 it was torn down because the lack of usage and the amount of money that was needed to maintain it. As you can see, the opera house played a huge role in Bozeman History. For more information, find Dede Carson, who teaches art history at MSU and knows a lot about the Opera House.





Dear Mum,

The other day, my class and I went to the old site of the Opera House. We sat on the cold pavement in front of the lot where the place was located and listed to a presentation by Dede, a historian. In 1880, before Montana had a capital, the mayor was John Bogert. He enjoyed the arts, especially music and theature. When he heard that Montana was running for a capital, he quickly spiffed up our downtown with a fancy opera house. It was built in 1890. The building was also home to the city hall, fire dept, police dept and library. Three jail cells are located under the dressing room. There was one cell for women and two for men. The auditorium could seat up to 900 people.

Because the early Main Street was not paved, so there was a temporary bridge spanning the muddy road so the ladies with their elegant skirts would not get dirty before the show. The bridge spanned the gap between the Bozeman Hotel and the 2nd story of the Opera House. Around the 1920s, the old place became used for celabrations only (graduations, weddings, etc.). Eventually it was used for the storage of Christmas lights. Finally, in 1965, it was torn down, because it was not being used and too expensive to maintain.



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