Newport Opera House

Newport Opera House Our first Town Hall was built in 1872. Destroyed by fire in 1885, it was rebuilt in 1886 by Hiram Beckwith of Claremont at a cost of $26,000. The walls are 16" thick on the first floor and 12" thick on the second floor. It is also our Court House and our Opera House.

In 1887 a chandelier for the main hall was purchased. It later disappeared, then resurfaced, and once again lights the main hall. The windows have three sliding shutters topped by leaded stained glass. In 1904 a 3-story stage was added, along with extensive electrical equip-ment and was referred to as “the largest stage north of Boston.” Directly beneath the stage were 11 dressing rooms. In 1913 two 3-globe lampposts were set in front of the Opera House, the model for today's vintage lighting on Main Street.

During 1950-60, activity slowed as the facility aged, but in 1974 the Opera House Association formed to promote performing arts, and made major contri-butions to the facility, including upholstered seats. Until 1976, deacons benches were used on the main floor, with balcony seating about 200. The hall capacity permitted today is 250-300 for a dance and 675 for an assembly.

In 1980 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout the years, the Town Hall has been the center of community events. During 1996-97, the town continues to invest in major renovations for the upkeep of this valuable historic public facility. (Source: Opera House Assn. Picture by Barbara Huff)

THE HUMAN FLY
Newport's Main Street resembled that of a big city early one evening in September, 1926 when a large crowd gathered to witness Jimmy Smith, the Human Fly from Hollywood, climb the Town Hall. He made his ascent up the eave spout on the north side of the entrance and was pulled up over the slate roof by a rope. He did not attempt to climb the clock tower, as rain made the attempt too dangerous....(from the Archives)

 
  Town of Newport    15 Sunapee St    Newport, NH 03773  
Copyright © The Town of Newport, NH. All rights reserved.
Hosting & Design by: Functional Art Solutions