From Wimbledon, North Dakota, we travelled to Ellendale, North Dakota, population nearly 1400, to give another talk about the Red River Trails and my book Ox Cart Angel, this time at the Ellendale Opera House. First, Paige and I checked into the old family run Oxen Rider Motel on the edge of town. I love the sign.
The Ellendale Opera House was a great venue - a beautiful building, with lots of work being done to restore the inside to its former glory. It originally opened in 1909, and seated up to 800 people, but eventually fell into disrepair. In 2002 a non-profit group, O.P.E.R.A., Inc, took over and started making long-needed repairs.
I love these painted panels. They're actually fairly new, and were put there to protect the original windows while they're restoring the place.
Here's Jeanette Robb, my contact at the region's historical society, giving Paige and I a tour of the place. These are the stairs leading up to the theater.
Here's the theater stage, located on the second floor of the building. There's also a balcony that I didn't get a good photo of. But chairs would be placed on this main floor for performances, and then removed for dances.
A look at some of the restoration work being done on the ceiling. Old on the left, new on the right.
Jeanette showed us some of the original chairs of the theater - Paige was responsible for drawing the smiley face in the dust of the middle chair.
A look at the opera house's old circuit board - I can't help but think there were sparks a-flying whenever anything was turned on.
I actually did my presentation in the nicely refurbished lobby of the building on the main floor. It's a clean white room with local artwork hanging on the walls. They do put on plays on the main stage, but the historical society is still in the process of raising money to finish the renovations. I would love to go back and see the place when it's finished!