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Grainfield, KS : Community : Grainfield Opera House

Opera House 1887The Grainfield Opera House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a stately and historic structure situated in the business district of Grainfield. Its unique architecture makes it one of only two Opera Houses standing yet, with an ornate cast iron and galvanized front made by the Mesker Bros. In the early days this building served as a storefront as well as a town meeting place. Over the years many businesses have occupied all three levels of the Opera House. The Grainfield Lions Club along with many volunteers have been renovating the Opera House since 1995, and now it showcases annual craft fairs, the Christmas lighting and raffle, high school prom, family reunions, and much more. Lifetime memberships are available, and volunteer work and donations are always welcome. If you'd like to help preserve the heritage of the old frontier, inquire at the Grainfield Opera House.

  • Construction began in April 1887
  • In January 1888, the building opened its doors to the first business - the Cap Sheaf newspaper
  • By 1944, the Opera House became a recreation hall for its youth. A bowling alley was installed in the lower room of the Opera House.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, the Opera House accommodated several businesses. All businesses closed and the building remained empty after 1980.
  • Then in 1994 citizens displayed interest in refurbishing the Opera House
  • On Dec. 22, 1995 Joan Dingworth donated the Opera House to the Grainfield Lions Club.

Other occupants of the building were:

  • Dry goods store
  • Harness shop
  • Hardware & furniture store
  • Grocery store
  • Car dealership
  • Home & auto store
  • General mercantile store
  • Tire shop
  • Plumbing & appliance store
  • Masonic Lodge
  • VFW Post
  • Doctor's office
  • Private school
  • First high school classes

In November 1888 the Opera House hosted:

  • Church carnivals
  • Comedians
  • Concerts
  • Dances
  • Hypnotists
  • Magicians
  • Movies
  • School classes, commencements & proms
  • Vaudeville
  • Wrestling & boxing matches

Volunteers and the Grainfield Lions Club:

  • Established the Grainfield Opera House, Inc. on Aug. 22, 1998
  • Formed a six member governing board
  • Received grants from Kansas Heritage Trust Fund, and Dane G. Hansen, and Midwest Energy
  • Provided over 15,000 volunteer hours to preserve, renovate, and maintain the historic structure

Board Members:
Herb Queen, President
Diana Kaiser, Secretary/Treasurer
Bonnie Wilson

Ron Eberle
Jan McCubbin

To Tour, Rent or Volunteer Time Call:
Herbert Queen - for bookings (785) 673-5585
Diana Kaiser (785) 938-4416

Elvis Show at the Opera House

Opera-tunity Craft Showgeneral mercantile store
Opera House 2009Frank's Attribute to Elvis on the stage upstairs!

Needed Renovations:

  • Repair and patch plaster walls
  • Newly installed elevator

Current Uses:

  • Annual Craft Fairs
  • Annual Christmas lighting & raffle
  • Annual Harvest Pie Festival
  • Bithday Parties
  • Building tours
  • Elvis Show
  • Family reunions
  • Graduation receptions
  • High school prom
  • Legislator town hall meetings
  • Proms
  • Showers
  • Weddings

Possible Future Plans:

  • Antique store
  • History of Great Western Cattle Trail
  • Ice cream shop
  • Kansas products store
  • Movie showings
  • Small musical groups performances
  • Traveling displays from around the area

For $25.00 per person, you will receive a Lifetime Membership and voting privileges at the Annual Meeting to elect the directors

Corner of Third Street and Main Street

Donations are welcome at any time, for any amount. All donations are used for the repair and up keep of the building and are tax exempt as part of the 501(c) 3 organization.

Send donations to:
Grainfield Opera House
PO Box 116
Grainfield, KS 67737