History-rich Galva Opera House up for bids

by Carol Townsend correspondent
The Galva Opera House as it appeared in 1890

Bids will be opened on July 7th at 2 p.m, on the Galva Opera House block. The City of Galva obtained the building after it had been sold for back taxes for about $25,000 according to Mayor Rich Volkert several years ago.

The building has three storefronts. The Galva News was the last tenant to rent one of the storefronts. A resale shop was the last to rent the middle storefront and the storefront next to the alley was being renovated to house a Mexican restaurant before the group quit several years ago.

The city hired a crew to come in and clean everything that had been left in the three storefronts, an old apartment in the basement and the Opera House.

The city has spent about $55,000-60,000 on a new roof, tuckpointing twice , the clean-out and new windows. Mayor Volkert said that the windows are purchased and the city has hired Galva contractor Don Collinson and hopes to get the windows in this week.

A special city council meeting will be held on July 13th at 6 p.m for the council to take action on the bids if any are received.

The Galva Opera House building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1982.

The Galva Opera House is a historic theater located above the store 344, 346 and 348 Front Street in Galva. Galva was founded in 1854 and the Opera House was built in 1878. It first opened at the Blue Ribbon Temperance Hall but by 1886 it had lost its association with the temperance movement and was know as the Galva Opera House.

The Galva Opera House was located in the perfect site, as it was located on two major railroad lines. This allowed traveling groups to come, as well as much local talent. Many talented musicians performed at the Opera House in the 1880’s.

Local schools used the Opera House for graduation ceremonies, sports events, and schools plays. Galva High School opened its own auditorium in 1932.

The Opera House dances during the early years were described as elegant affairs such as the Thanksgiving dance, the concert of the Galva Military Band and the annual Galva Firemen’s ball.

The men wore their uniforms and the women’s came in their finest gowns.

In the 1920’s a roller skating rink was in the upstairs.

Home Pryor owned the building in he 1950’s and the Galva Lions Club met there and did work in the Opera House. They had an open house on January 10, 1953 to show off their work.

Information on the Opera House was obtained from Galvaland Magazine.

Galva Opera House as it appears today, with tuck pointing nearly finished, and preparing for installation of new windows.