Arts

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

The detail work in the moulding of the Stoughton Opera House

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

Picture of the balcony iin the Stoughton Opera House

Lights at the Stoughton Opera House

The blue detail in the moulding of the Stoughton Opera House

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

Doug Phundheller talks to the kids from the stage of the Opera House

Zoe drew a chair and a window inside the Stoughton Opera House

 

Stoughton Opera House with
Storyteller Doug Phundheller
Stoughton, WI

Sarah | Dylan | Rodrigo | Mackenzie | Dylan

Mackenzie drew this picture of the clock tower and the Stoughton Opera HouseDoug Phundheller is a very German 73-year-old man. Not nearly as Norwegian as most others. In the 1900s there were no televisions or radios, so everybody went to the opera house in Stoughton. It was a bit like a huge movie theater to them, but with plays instead of movies. The Opera House was built in 1901, but there weren't any fire escapes yet. But seven years later they put in a fire escape. Now this wasn't your ordinary fire escape. This was a beam that would tip and wobble back and forth. Doug and his friends would play on it and run back and forth, trying to balance, until someone would shoo them off.

In 1954 the opera house was no longer in use. It was very messy and pigeons used it for their homes. Oscar Johnson, called "Pretty Oscar," was hired to shoot pigeons Mackenzie's drawing of a chair in the balconyin the opera house --Sarah

The lights at the opera house were gas-powered. It had an elevator where a horse was on a rope connected to a pulley in the opera house, connected to an elevator. So when the horse would walk down the alley, the elevator would go up.

Important people would sit in the box seats of the opera house. The seats below the balcony were oak. The first Civil War band played at the Opera House. --Dylan

At the first performance they had at the opera house, Abraham Lincoln's wife came on a horse. --Rodrigo

In 1982 they [who?] convinced the city to tear down and restore the opera house to how it originally looked. It had been abandoned for so many years that the windows were broken and the ceiling needed to be replaced.

They got started. First they put in heating and air conditioning.
They replastered walls. One man took out all the seats by hand, unscrewing every screw (I bet his hands must have hurt.), and he put the new ones in.

The new seats, like the old ones, had wire underneath where the men used toput their hats.

It took more than 20 years to build and furnish the opera house. They spent almost a million dollars on the opera house, and the money all came from donations.
--MacKenzie

They had a grand reopening for the opera house. Important people came for the celebration. They put in modern sound systems. A gold outline on the stage is 22kt gold. The gold-colored designs on the walls were painted with stencils, then gold slabs were put on the design. [fix?] Above the state there is a large copper plate.
--Dylan

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This page last updated on November 6, 2002