Homestake Opera House starts renovation on theater

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Lead, SD Hard work takes time ... and The Historic Homestake Opera House has been working hard to restore their building since a devastating fire in 1984.

Sarah Carlson, Homestake Opera House executive director says, "This is our history and it is alive right now by seeing this restoration take place."

After months of work, the first step of restoration in the historic theater is complete.

Carlson says, "So this restoration is the initial plasterwork restoration the first time to be done in the theater since the fire of 1984."

Restoration of other major sections of The Historic Homestake Opera House, the former recreation center and theater, has been going on for years.

Carlson says, "Over the course of the last 6 years, we finished off a lot of different historic preservation projects in the building, always working towards the theater."

Three local workers have been on the job since early December and have just finished the first wall.

Dennes Barrett, Homestake Opera House facilities manager says, "Words really can't express the satisfaction in knowing that this process is going forward and this is our showpiece to let people know what we can do and what we're going to do."

Each ornate plaster piece was molded by hand based off of the original in its best shape.

Barrett says, "We saved the very best pieces that we could salvage and then we replicated them with plaster ourselves patching the second-best peace up and making it perfect."

The team has been working hard to make sure every last detail, down to the paint, is accurate to original 1914 design.

Barrett sats, "We really owe it to the people that built this building from the plasterers, bricklayers, to the people that paid for it, to the miners that worked in the mine to get the money to pay for it, we owe it to them to be accurate."

But this sort of work doesn't come cheap ... the first wall was funded by a donor to honor a senator and his wife that frequented the recreation center.

Carlson says, "This wall was funded by an anonymous donation of $10,000 in honor of Jim and Betty Dunn of Lead."

Wall number two is currently being funded and is set to be finished in August .... but there is still an overwhelming about of work to be done.

Carlson says, "The Gold Mine is no longer but this legacy continues on."