Early 1900’s at the COH

In the early 1900’s the Claremont Opera House was the entertainment center for the area. Helping make this a reality was a Claremont druggist named Harry Eaton. Eaton managed the Opera House for 32 years. He brought stock companies for plays, road companies for one night stands, musicals, vaudeville minstrel shows, and films. In 1906, Sousa’s Band of fifty, with three soloists, appeared in a Saturday matinee.

Because of the lack of use, the doors at the Opera House were closed in 1963. The city contemplated removing the auditorium in favor of a more modern building for the city offices and the District Court. A Restoration Committee was formed in 1972. Through its efforts, the Opera House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and funds were raised to hire an architect by 1975. With the joint effort of the City Council and the Opera House Restoration Committee, a N.H. Historic Preservation Grant was received for a feasibility study in 1976. In 1977, the Restoration Committee became a non-profit organization, Claremont Opera House, Inc. With plans and studies completed, the city applied for and received a grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration. The municipal complex became a reality. Interior restoration was funded by a federal grant from Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, Claremont Opera House, Inc. and friends.

Since the grand re-opening of the Opera House on May 26, 1979, the Friends and Boards of Directors have raised funds, both public and private, to re-equip and maintain the theater. These efforts continue today, not just for capital projects but to expand staffing so we can continue to diversify programming. Please see our latest capital campaign to support our capital efforts or become a member or friend, to ensure we can continue as an entertainment center of the area.


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