Ellendale Opera House Gallery

Ellendale Opera House and Gallery
55 Main Street
PO Box 334
Ellendale, ND  58436

Jeanette Robb-Ruenz  701-349-4329
Ken Schmierer  701 349 2490 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ellendale Opera House celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.

This beautiful building was the site of a wide variety of events, beginning with traveling theater productions at the turn of the century. One of Ellendale's oldest attractions, the Opera House is located on West Main Street. The 3-story brick structure was built in 1908 when local businessmen decided to plan for the future of their town.

The extraordinary building had its grand opening in February 1909 with plays given by the Chase-Lister Theatre Company. The second story had offices along the South side, which were rented to attorneys, dentists and doctors. The main part of the auditorium floor was for seating when plays and shows were held. The seating capacity was about 800. The chairs could be removed for dancing and other events. The third story held the balcony and more offices.

The building's future looked dim until a non-profit organization, O.P.E.R.A., Inc., took ownership from the city and began the restoration project. Since 2002 they have put on a new roof, rebuilt the back wall, and renovated a section of the Main Street business space for a theater for the performing arts, and exhibit hall for artists and a community room.

O.P.E.R.A. Inc. is determined to bring the magnificent structure back to its grandeur and make it a meaningful part of the community. A new facade is the most recent project at the Opera House. The restoration is being done by a group of dedicated volunteers, with the help of grants, donations and fund-raising events. Since the lobby has been completed, over 80 events have been held in the building.

If you'd like to visit the Opera House, stop by Crabtree Insurance or the Calico Cat to arrange for a tour. These businesses are also located on Main Street, west of Hwy. 281. Or, you can contact Jeanette Robb-Ruenz at 701-349-4329, or by eMail: jrbruenz@drtel.net or Ken Schmierer 701 349 2490 or by eMail: kschm1965@drtel.net

Opera House Lobby & Gallery

Renovation of part of the main level of the historic Ellendale Opera House, which was once Randall’s Grocery Store, was complete in 2007, just in time for Ellendale’s 125th anniversary celebration. It is called the Gallery/lobby and will be the main entrance to the second floor auditorium when that part is completed.

The lobby/gallery is used for art exhibits, theatrical and musical performances and private parties. The "Smithsonian's KEY INGREDIENTS: AMERICA BY FOOD is on display in the lobby from May 4th until June 16th. The Gallery has hosted a number of ND Museum of Art exhibitions and had many regional and local artists exhibit their work in the Gallery. Local photographer Ken Schmierer work is on display between scheduled exhibitions.

The Gallery recently became a member of the North Dakota Art Gallery Association. The Gallery will host its first ND Art Gallery exhibition in the spring of 2014 with the Shelle Bunde exhibition: She Left For Good One Time But Came Back.

In June 2007, an Artist Showcase was held in conjunction with the grand opening of the Gallery/lobby. Art media from 15 local artists, past and present, were on display. More than 700 people attended the Showcase during the weekend of the 125th Celebration with North Dakota Governor John Hoeven as a special guest. The governor attended the Walk of Fame presentation and the reception held at the Opera House. While here, he toured the Opera House including the Gallery and auditorium.