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Iowa Time Machine: Volga City Opera House - May 7, 1914

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 7, 1914, the curtain went up at the Volga Opera House for the first time. The Clayton County venue served as a vital community meeting place for decades, faced near demolition, and underwent restoration to live out a great Iowa historic preservation story.

The first show hosted at the space, “The Lion & the Mouse,” set the stage for the venue which served as a community center for theatrical productions, dances, school functions, and other events. Eventually, the building housed several different businesses including the Volga City News, a butcher shop, a grocery store, and several bars.

By the early 1980s, the building stood in disrepair and many thought the building’s days might be numbered. However, area farmer Dennis McTaggart bought the building and started to slowly make repairs. Sold again in the mid-1980s, the building reopened as a restaurant. However, in 1999 flooding significantly damaged the opera house and the future of the building looked bleak.

During the early 2010s, local efforts started to come together to breathe new life into the Volga City Opera House. Community fundraising and grants helped to provide funding, vital repairs and thoughtful restoration work allowed for the structure to rise as one of Iowa’s hidden gem venues in a new century. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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