Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

219 W MAPLE ST

Architecture and History Inventory
219 W MAPLE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:REED'S OPERA HOUSE
Other Name:
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:45339
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):219 W MAPLE ST
County:Grant
City:Lancaster
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1894
Additions:
Survey Date:2005
Historic Use:opera house/concert hall
Architectural Style:Romanesque Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Courthouse Square Historic District
National Register Listing Date:4/7/2006 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/20/2006 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A BRACKETED METAL CORNICE WITH LARGE DENTILS, ROUND ARCH OPENINGS, CAST IRON COLUMNS AND RED BRICK/STONE BELT COURSE, ARE FEATURES OF THIS TWO STORY BUILDING. THE STRUCTURE HAS A RECTANGULAR PLAN CONFIGURATION, A FLAT ROOF AND A BRICK EXTERIOR. THE BUILDING HAS BEEN SANDBLASTED. IT WAS FOUND TO BE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. THE COMMERCIAL HISTORIC TENANTS OF THE BUILDING WERE AN OPERA HOUSE WHICH EXISTED FROM 1893 TO C.1927. (A,D), AND A RETAIL STORE WHICH HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FROM 1893 TO THE PRESENT.

ARCHITECTURAL STATEMENT:
REED'S OPERA HOUSE, AN 1893 ADDITION TO LANCASTER'S COMMERCIAL CENTER, IS AN IMPORTANT EXAMPLE OF LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURE. THIS PIVOTAL STRUCTURE, WHICH HAS RECENTLY BEEN RENOVATED, FEATURES A BRACKETED METAL CORNICE, A LARGELY INTACT LOWER STOREFRONT AREA, AND LARGE ROUND ARCH OPENINGS ON THE SECOND FLOOR WHICH ARCHITECTURALLY DEMARK THE OPERA HOUSE PORTION OF THE STRUCTURE.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
OWNED BY DR. J.H. REED, A LANCASTER DENTIST, REED'S OPERA HOUSE WAS FIRST USED BY THE LOCAL BACHELORS' CLUB FOR THEIR ANNUAL RECEPTION ON DECEMBER 28, 1893. (A). EARLY IN 1894, THE LANCASTER ORCHESTRA HELD THEIR "SOCIAL" AT THE HALL, WHILE THE COMEDY COMPANY KELLY & ANGELL PROVIDED THE OFFICIAL OPENING ATTRACTION AT A PRICE OF 20 CENTS PER TICKET. (C).

FURTHER READING OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLES IN BOTH THE TELLER AND THE GRANT COUNTY HERALD OFFER NUMEROUS REFERENCES TO THE OPERA HOUSE AND THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES -- DANCES, CONCERTS, PLAYS, PUBLIC MEETINGS -- WHICH IT HOUSED. REED'S WAS IN OPERATION UNTIL AT LEAST 1927 WHEN THE SANBORN MAP LISTED IT "AS NOT IN USE." (D). THE CLOSING OF THE OPERA HOUSE WAS PROBABLY A DIRECT RESULT OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE LANCASTER MUNICIPAL BUILDING, 206-218 SOUTH MADISON STREET, 8/16, A MULTIPURPOSE CIVIC STRUCTURE, WHICH CONTAINED A LARGE THEATER.

A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE OPERA HOUSE IS INCLUDED IN WATTON'S LANCASTER SOUVENIR. (E). THE ENTRANCE TO THE SECOND FLOOR WAS THROUGH THE DOUBLE DOORS AT THE EAST SIDE OF THE BUILDING. L. ALT & SONS, MEATS, GROCERIES, AND PROVISIONS OCCUPIED A PORTION OF THE FIRST FLOOR. THIS BUSINESS LATER MOVED TO A STRUCTURE DIRECTLY EAST, 205 W. MAPLE STREET, 42/9.

2005-
The Reed Opera House is another of the district's most intact buildings, which is especially fortunate because it is an excellent example of the kind of multipurpose building that was sometimes constructed in communities of Lancaster's size in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Still more impressive is the fact that the Reed building was designed in the Romanesque Revival style, an atypical choice for a building of this type. The building is rectilinear in plan and two-stories-tall, its exterior walls are clad in brick and rest on a cut stone foundation, and the main facade of the building faces south onto W. Maple St. Two stores originally occupied the building's first story, while a broad staircase located at the right-hand (east) end of the facade led up to the public hall or "opera house" that occupied all of the taller second story. Remarkably, both of the original storefronts and also the second story entrance that together make up the first story of the main facade are all largely intact, as is the remainder of the facade. The second story consists of two triple window groups that flank a centered single window of the same size and the heads of these identically sized semi-circular-arched window openings are all linked by a four-course, header brick, arcade-like feature that, like the arched windows themselves, is typical of the round arched design features that are associated with the Romanesque Revival style. Crowning the facade is an overhanging metal-clad cornice and the whole was one of the district's most impressive buildings when it was built and remains so today.
Bibliographic References:A. THE TELLER, 7 DECEMBER 1893. B. 1894 SANBORN PERRIS MAP. C. THE TELLER, 11 JANUARY 1894. D. 1927 SANBORN PERRIS MAP. E. WATTON'S SOUVENIR OF LANCASTER, 1900, P. 14. 2005, Tim Heggland. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Courthouse Square Historic District.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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