The Howell Opera House, built in 1881, is a recognized landmark in downtown Howell serving the community with a variety of quality arts and cultural programs throughout the year. The iconic building is also utilized as a rental facility for public and private events. It is owned and operated by the Livingston Arts Council.
PAST AND PRESENT HOWELL OPERA HOUSE - HONORARY RECOGNITIONS Listed on the Register of Historic Places, in Washington DC, 1987 January 30, 2002 - Outstanding Community Initiative Award for commitment to restoration as an architectural and cultural centerpiece. July 10, 2006 - Michigan Registered Historical Site - Michigan Historical Commission
2007 - Significant Historical Building Howell Main Street 2008- Historical Preservation & Design Award for Preservation Stewardship - Howell Main Street 2013 - Designated as an Historic District of the City of Howell: Howell Opera House Historic District
In 1881, a three-story late Victorian building of red brick was constructed at 123 W. Grand River in downtown Howell as a community opera house. On December 30th of the same year, the opera house stage opened with its first performance. Until 1924, when it was closed by the fire marshal, the theatre was the center of entertainment for the community offering a variety of live shows, speeches, dinners, graduation ceremonies, plays, and many other leisure activities of the era. Designed by notable Detroit architect Almon C. Varney, the building held retail spaces on the first floor and the theatre and balconies above. Prior to 1938, a center entry on front of the building opened to a wide staircase that led to the second floor theater. In 1885, E.D. Stair managed the theatrical house until he acquired the Detroit Free Press and Garrick Theatre. New management took over in 1893 and the building was sold to Arthur Garland. He used part of the main floor for the manufacture of custom-tailored suits that he shipped all over the country. The 800 seat theatre, which cost $11,000 in 1880 to build, was a central part of Livingston County life and did double duty as a civic auditorium for events like high school graduations. In 1889, justice was administered when the Opera House served as a temporary home for the Livingston County Circuit Court. When the theatre was closed, it brought an end to nearly 45 years of entertainment for the community. From opening day on December 30, 1881 until closing in 1924, people would come from miles around to see jugglers, hear speeches from the likes of presidential candidate William
Jennings Bryan and industrialist Henry Ford, enjoy dinner theatre and parties, and see productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” In 1991, historic theatre expert Edward Francis said that the Howell Opera House should be placed on an “endangered species” list because most other theatres of its era had burned down. Today, the Opera House theatre on the second floor remains in a neglected state, and has been used only for storage for the last 80 years. The Livingston Arts Council (LAC) purchased the building in 2000 and began the renovation in small steps. New stairways were completed and several structure repairs were made. In May 2007, the first floor renovation was completed, thanks to state and federal grant funding and the generosity of the community. It is now open to the public as an ideal location for art shows, presentations, meetings, parties, and as rental space for private use. Currently the theatre cannot be used by the general public except for guided tours, which can be arranged by calling the LAC office at 517-540-0065. It is with great passion and dedication that the organization and the community realizes this restoration dream that will enrich lives and promote quality arts and cultural activities in Livingston County for generations to come. We greatly appreciate many individuals and businesses in the community for their continued support of this endeavor.
To view the Howell Opera House video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92NdhATjWOk
FIRST FLOOR RENTAL INFORMATION
RECEPTIONS AND BANQUETS – BUSINESS MEETINGS – COMMUNITY EVENTS/FUNDRAISERS ART EXHIBITS – LIVE PERFORMANCES – CONCERTS If you’re looking for a unique and beautiful location to hold your next special event, consider The Howell Opera House! The Howell Opera House is sustained in part by the rental of its first floor for public and private activities. The rentals are based on availability and scheduled around the LAC’s own events and programs during the year. The first floor of this historic building, renovated in May 2007, is available on various weekdays and weekends. It is perfect for a variety of activities
including: parties, dinners, luncheons, business meetings, showers, receptions, reunions or exhibits. (Maximum 200 for auditorium seating; 150 for weddings or receptions.) There are two rooms available for rent: The Grand is a 3,400 square foot room with exposed brick walls, track and pendant lighting, and a separate lobby area. The Walnut Room is 390 square feet but perfect for smaller meetings or for use as a food preparation area.
Call us for details and information on how The Opera House can meet your requirements for a memorable event, including set up and catering options. Contact our Sales Manager Sharon Fisher at 517.540.0065 or email@example.com. For a quick virtual tour of the interior of The Opera House, visit http://rtvpix.com/BU-4065-6P5PS8-01
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Howell Opera House Planner 2014 Covers.indd 1
LIKE US on Facebook for up to the minute event and program information, plus restoration progress: facebook.com/TheHowellOperaHouse â€“ OR â€“ facebook.com/RestoretheGlory.HowellOperaHouse
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123 West Grand River Ave. Downtown Howell 517- 5 4 0 - 0 0 6 5 w w w.theoperahouse.us ÂŠ2014 Superior Color Publications, Inc. | Livonia, MI | 734-464-1018 | yourmiweddingvenue.com | All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written consent of Superior Publications.
The Howell Opera House, built in 1881, is a recognized landmark in downtown Howell serving the community with a variety of quality arts and...