A look inside The Goss Opera House

Eye on KELOLAND

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) – After a multi-million dollar renovation, The Goss Opera House is looking forward to welcoming guests.

Watertown has been the home of The Goss Opera House for more than 100 years.

“Charles Goss came to Watertown in the 1880s and he built on this corner, this is called the Goss block, and so his first building he put up in 1887 and that caught fire,” treasurer of the Friends of The Goss Foundation, Brad Johnson said. “He opened the new opera hall in 1889 and he died in the early 1900s and I think the opera hall continued on until about the 1920s, and then when the depression hit, this place kind of stopped and it was used sporadically after that, but really since about 1950, it just sat in a state of disrepair.”

That’s where the non-profit, Friends of the Goss come in.

The group started a capital campaign and raised nearly $5 million to renovate the building.

“So the renovation, it first started with replacing the roof of the opera house,” board member Friends of The Goss Foundation, Missy Sinner said. “After we completed the roof, we did things a little bit differently than normal, we were simultaneously raising the money and the funds to do this at the same time we had the construction going on, and so as soon as the roof was done we were able to start with the interior work.”

Sinner says a lot of work needed to be done to revive the historic building.

“Inside we did a little bit of everything from replacing floors to making sure every corner of it was structurally sound and to the beautiful aesthetics and new lighting everywhere,” Sinner said.

That renovation work wrapped up a few months ago, with a grand opening at the end of September.

“It was an extraordinary project and it was also an incredible response from the community of Watertown and region to save this building,” Johnson said.

Along with the Opera hall itself, there are many other spaces people can utilize.

“It’s really multipurpose, and that’s why I love it, it’s so diverse, we have retail space, we have an amazing restaurant, bar, they do catering, we have business office rental space, we have hospitality suites you can rent, we have the board rooms, the landing where people can do dance classes,” executive director, Jamie Mack said.

While opening during a pandemic has been tough, having to postpone some events and shows, event coordinator Jen Pendley says she’s optimistic about 2021.

“We had several concerts that we have booked, we have several weddings that are coming up, I have two in March, we have a couple proms,” event coordinator, Jen Pendley said.

A place they believe will be an asset to Watertown for many years to come.

“We really want The Goss Opera House to be the heart of downtown Watertown, the beating heart of the community, help the community come together, help people feel welcome, and also raising up other businesses in the downtown area,” Mack said.

To find out more about events at The Goss Opera House, click here.

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