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Our History

The Historic Elgin Opera House

In 1911, to sever the close proximity of a house of ill repute, Elgin’s city leaders built a new city hall that would serve the dual function of city government and performing arts center.
Architect John L. Slater of La Grande designed this two-story, colonial revival brick structure with stone foundation.  Contractor John Oberg of Wallowa completed the structure, with decorative metal cornice and pilasters flanking the entrance, at a cost of $15,000.00.
Elgin High School’s graduating class of 1912 holds the distinction of the first performance on stage.  During the dedication ceremony on July 4, Walter M. Pierce of Hot Lake (later governor of Oregon), delivered an elaborate oration to a record crowd.


The Elgin Opera House is a two story Colonial style brick building with a dressed stone foundation. Completed in 1912, it is somewhat unique in being designed to serve the dual functions of housing city government offices and a theater. At its dedication, the Opera House was lauded as one of the finest because of its sharp acoustics and slanted seating arrangement. It was complete with plush draperies, box seats, an orchestra pit, elaborate backdrops and a rococo decor. The Opera House has been newly renovated and features its original motif. The architectural beauty and historic background of the building made it a natural addition to the National Register of Historic Buildings. The building is home to the newly establish performing arts group Friends of the Opera House. Many community events are scheduled at the Opera House. The Opera House Theater shows movies and noted performers are scheduled throughout the year.

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