The Stafford Opera House, located in the Independence Trail Region city of Columbus, certainly knows how to put on a show. Built in 1886 by cattleman R .E. Stafford, the R. E. Stafford Bank and Opera House first served as a bank on the first floor and theatrical venue on the second. Although called an “opera house”, no evidence has yet been uncovered that documents a live performance of an actual opera performed on the Stafford stage. Rather, the “opera” designation was in common use for theaters at the time, a reference perhaps due to the fact that the entertainment of the period included singers among the roster of primary performers. The Stafford’s Second Empire-style design is attributed to architect Nicholas Joseph Clayton, an advocate of the High Victorian movement who loved to draw from the classic architectural styles of the era to create elaborate ornamentation, a predilection well-represented in the design details of the Stafford Opera House. Today, the Columbus Historical Preservation Trust serves as steward for the landmark which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Trust also carries on the tradition of presenting live theater to audiences on the Opera House stage. The Stafford offers dinner theater performances each year in October, November, March and April featuring works by regional theatre companies.
Stafford Opera House
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