In 1896, the E.E. Warren Opera House, now known as the Warren Cultural Center, first opened. Aside from the few shops that remained there until 1990, interest in the building gradually declined throughout the course of the later part of the century. It drew theatre companies, musicians, and local acts.
Originally, a dry goods business was located on the ground floor. The theater and balconies, as well as the owner’s apartment, were located on the top two stories. The facility, which was most recently utilized as a community gathering place, had significant water damage, particularly in the auditorium, which featured a magnificent dome ceiling.
History of Warren Cultural Center
When Ed and Eva Warren opened the Opera House in December 1896, it became known as Greenfield’s “grand lady.” With its big windows, oxidized copper accents, and turret, the three-story brick structure served as a significant commercial and cultural icon.
Edward Earnest Warren was born in New London, Iowa, on March 31, 1862. He studied at the prestigious New London Academy. From 1879 until 1881, Edward was employed for A.P. Stephens & Company in Greenfield. He then worked at Creston’s corporate store for two years. Mr. Warren became a partner in Greenfield’s new name in 1883 “Warren, Fuller & Co. Edward and his brother F.C. Warren acquired the company and changed its name in 1886 “Company.” In 1889, Edward bought the company.
In 1884, Edward married Eva Mary Viers, who was born in Fontanelle, Iowa. birthplace of Eva in 1863. enduring partners
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On the site of the destroyed Adair County Courthouse, the Warren family and Greenfield banker John J. Hetherington erected a new store and opera house in 1896.
In 1979, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, it wasn’t until 1994, when it was given to Main Street Greenfield, that restoration work really got under way.
Warren Cultural Center Restoration
Restored 1896 The Norman Lear Theater, historic dwelling rooms, a balcony bedroom for overnight stays, a lobby/gallery, event rentals, entertainment, and Ed & Eva’s store with goods made by around 100 Iowa artists are all included in the Warren Opera House.
Based on a conservator’s investigation, the plaster was fixed and restored during the rehabilitation process, along with the auditorium’s ornamental finishes. Additionally, the building’s storefront was given a historic makeover. The upper stories have been converted into new living space.
In 2012, the Warren Cultural Center, formerly the E.E. Warren Opera House, reopened its doors. The project team and the community were able to rethink what the magnificent building would be used for in the future thanks to the innovative use of the spaces, including a partnership and the concurrent rehabilitation of the nearby Hotel Greenfield. The theater and other rooms have undergone a $6.2 million refurbishment under the direction of historic restoration specialists to restore them to their former splendor.
Source : mainstreet.org
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