Doug Phundheller is a very German 73-year-old man. Not nearly as Norwegian as most others. In the 1900s there were no televisions or radios, so everybody went to the opera house in Stoughton. It was a bit like a huge movie theater to them, but with plays instead of movies. The Opera House was built in 1901, but there weren’t any fire escapes yet. But seven years later they put in a fire escape. Now this wasn’t your ordinary fire escape. This was a beam that would tip and wobble back and forth. Doug and his friends would play on it and run back and forth, trying to balance, until someone would shoo them off.
In 1954 the opera house was no longer in use. It was very messy and pigeons used it for their homes. Oscar Johnson, called “Pretty Oscar,” was hired to shoot pigeons in the opera house.
The lights at the opera house were gas-powered. It had an elevator where a horse was on a rope connected to a pulley in the opera house, connected to an elevator. So when the horse would walk down the alley, the elevator would go up.
Important people would sit in the box seats of the opera house. The seats below the balcony were oak. The first Civil War band played at the Opera House.
At the first performance they had at the opera house, Abraham Lincoln’s wife came on a horse.
In 1982 they [who?] convinced the city to tear down and restore the opera house to how it originally looked. It had been abandoned for so many years that the windows were broken and the ceiling needed to be replaced.
They got started. First they put in heating and air conditioning.
They replastered walls. One man took out all the seats by hand, unscrewing every screw (I bet his hands must have hurt.), and he put the new ones in.
The new seats, like the old ones, had wire underneath where the men used to put their hats.
It took more than 20 years to build and furnish the opera house. They spent almost a million dollars on the opera house, and the money all came from donations.
They had a grand reopening for the opera house. Important people came for the celebration. They put in modern sound systems. A gold outline on the stage is 22kt gold. The gold-colored designs on the walls were painted with stencils, then gold slabs were put on the design. [fix?] Above the state there is a large copper plate.