Today the rest of the restored windows were installed in the Amherst Opera House/Community Hall. Laib Restoration from Oshkosh, Wi. restored the wooden windows to the condition they were when new in the late 1930’s. Including using salvage, period glass panes. Soon the new front entrance doors will be installed.
There is quite a bit of activity at the Amherst Opera House/Community Hall this week.
Tuesday the crew from Laib Restorations in Oshkosh will be here to install the newly restored windows on the North and South side of the Building.
Wednesday the Laib Restoration crew will return to install new front entrance doors.
Both the windows and the doors will now be in original condition as they were in 1938 after the W.P.A. remodeled the building. Both the upper and lower wooden window sash has been restored to original, new ropes installed for the weights, and all of the glass panes that were cracked or broken have been replace with salvage glass original to the 1930’s. The glazing is the only part of the project that is not from the period. The new entrance doors are salvaged from a period building and will be installed with emergency exit apparatus as well as a new security lock.
Thursday a crew from GarageForce of North Central WI will be completing our bathroom restoration by finishing the restroom floors with a full chip concrete coating.
Work on the installation of two new gas furnaces is ongoing.
Even though we generally do not host any events in the winter season we still would like the front and rear entrances to the Amherst Opera House clear of snow. The Village of Amherst does a great job of clearing the sidewalks. We are looking for someone who can shovel the front steps (north steps only) and landing as well as the rear entrance when needed. We would like to hire someone in the village who can shovel as needed. Pay is negotiable. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of someone who is interested.
John Kowalski of Kowalski Heating in Amherst continues to make progress on our project of installing 2 new furnaces in the basement of the Amherst Opera House-Community Hall.
The furnace was a WISE 233 manufactured by the Wise Furnace Company around 1925. The Wise Furnace Company was in Akron, Ohio. In their 1925 catalog it lists the weight of the No. 233 furnace at 2400 pounds. John and crew removed it by hand after disassembly. We were able to salvage some very interesting pieces of the furnace.
This is the base of the furnace. Approximately 5 foot in diameter it formed the bottom of the ashpit and a substantial support for the outside galvanized iron casing.
We are not sure what we will do with these 95 to 100 year old castings. Let us know if you have any ideas. We can’t wait to once again have heat in this 120 year old historic building.
John Kowalski and crew were working today to remove the old coal fired furnace in the basement of the Amherst Opera House. Plans are to install two new natural gas furnaces, one for each level of the Opera House. It was 14 degrees in the basement while they were working. We can’t wait for the heat.
Merry Christmas from AOHCG! The Board Members of the Amherst Opera House Co. Guild, Inc. would like to extend our wishes for you to have a happy and joyous Christmas season. Board members are as follows: Tom Parker – President, Bob Rausch – Vice-President, Claire Nordness – Secretary, Peggy Parker – Treasurer, Tom Iverson – Board Member, Ida Frizzell – Board Member, and Elizabeth Bettenhausen – Board Member.
We wish you the best and look forward to seeing you at an event at our soon to be 120 year old historic gathering place in Amherst, Wisconsin.
Winter Solstice Celebration Tonight! For those of you who need a reason to come to the Amherst Opera House tonight, here it is. Today shall be the final 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century. Stop in tonight at 5:30 PM and enjoy warm food & drink while we usher in the beginning of winter on the shortest day of the year.
Winter Solstice Celebration! Volunteers welcome. Come to the Amherst Opera House (Amherst Community Hall) and enjoy a family friendly evening that will include making Winter Solstice Lanterns, a reading of “The Shortest Day” children’s book, making orange pomanders, all while enjoying traditional warm Wassail and lots of candle light. Grilled cheese sandwiches, Wassail, chicken noodle soup and cookies, bring something to share if you like. Doors open at 5:30 PM. Stop in for 5 or 10 minutes or stay as long as you wish. There is no cost. Dress warm, the furnaces are still in the process of being installed. The Winter Solstice is a celebration of the imminent return of the sun. The winter solstice marks the end of fall and beginning of winter, and solstice traditions were created to celebrate the “birth of the sun.” The occasion is marked with sweet traditions—from brewing up mulled cider to lighting lanterns to setting intentions for the season ahead—join us and make this year’s shortest day a memorable one.
The newly refurbished Amherst Community Hall (formerly known as the Amherst Opera House) held it’s first official public gathering in October of 1938 when Portage County Progressives used the building for a big political rally that featured U.S. Senator Robert LaFollette as the keynote speaker. The event included speeches by a number of local and state candidates whose names would appear on the following month’s ballot. Republicans held a similar event in the building to promote their candidates the following week.
The final week of the month, the Amherst Volunteer Fire Department hosted a Halloween Dance in the hall, the new facility’s first dance.
This article sheds more light on the history of our Amherst Opera House. We know it was built between October and December of 1902. The first event was held January 3, 1903.
From 1903 to 1938 it operated as the Amherst Opera House Company during which time many “Entertainments” where hosted. In 1938 the federal program WPA (Works Progress Administration) did an extensive interior remodel. After the refurbish the Village of Amherst became the owner and The Amherst “Community Hall” was begun. The building was owned by the Village of Amherst from 1938 until late 1969 when it was sold to Harrison Baker.
If you know where to look in the Opera House you can find proof that the WPA was involved in 1938. If you are aware of any additional history or can correct any information about the Amherst Opera House, please let us know.
The original wood windows on the front of The Amherst Opera House have been professionally restored by Terry Laib of Laib Restorations of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Many of the panes of glass are also original “wavy” glass typical of glass produced in the early 1900’s. These windows have been boarded up for the past 51 years. We will be installing storm coverings soon. We also plan to restore the windows on the north and south sides of the building as funds are raised. Please look at our events page and visit us during an event so you can truly appreciate how beautiful these new windows are.