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Woodstock Opera House gets donation for 1890-style doors

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 5:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 8:30 a.m. CDT
(Northwest Herald file photo)
The Woodstock Opera House is undergoing a restoration to bring back its 1890s look.

WOODSTOCK – A woman who supported the Woodstock Opera House throughout her life has made one last donation.

Audrey Anderson, who served as an usher for the opera house and made annual donations to it, included in her will the funds necessary to replace doors on the north side of the building to their original 1890 form. Anderson died in 2010.

"It's going to be very nice," said Tom Anderson, Audrey's widower. "I think she'd approve of it very much."

The doors are part of an ongoing effort Opera House Director John Scharres and building manager Mark Greenleaf have headed to restore the building back to its 1890 look, when it was used as a firehouse.

"The front of the building will look really nice when we get this in," Scharres said. "It's a nice addition."

Through the years, as the use of the building evolved, much of the original architectural work was undone or covered, Scharres said.

The Opera House went through a big restoration in the 1970s, but since then, resources have been tougher to come by.

"We've only been able to restore major elements after that one-by-one," Greenleaf said.

That makes donations such as Anderson's all the more important.

Located to the right of the portico – which itself had disappeared for about 65 years before Scharres and others rebuilt it 20 years ago – the doors used to hold behind them the station's steam-powered water pumps.

Today, that area is the Opera House's main hallway and ticket booth.

The doors will be made in solid Honduras mahogany and fully customized, from the way they're assembled to how the wood is milled, based off research of the 1890 version.

Krumpen Woodworks, of Genoa City, Wis., will do the work for about $29,000. Greenleaf said the staff has set a goal to have them installed by the week of Halloween.

He said it was the last major restoration needed on the north, Square-facing side of the building.

"So we're very excited at the prospect of getting that done," he said.

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