It’s not performances, but after many long months since most entertainment disappeared due to the coronavirus known as COVID-19, the historic Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colo. now has an entertainment option. It is reopening for tours of this elegant historic structure starting Friday, July 17, 2020.
The interactive tours are led by talented local guides, who not only know the genuine history of the place but the background on some of the legendary performances put on there, as well as the background of its historic sets. As the Tabor’s first full rehabilitation since 1902 has just begun, guides will discuss both the current work and future vision for this elegant building, deemed a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Tours will be available by reservation only at three times: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. These tours provide an excellent way to learn some of the history that earned Leadville the honor of being named one of USA TODAY’s 10 Best Historic Small Towns on July 10, 2020.
The Tabor Second Story Museum, which is part of the tour, has been refreshed and will include information from the 55-year period when the building was known as the Elks Opera House. Also on display are a collection of large murals from the mining era that have not been seen in recent years.
Going backstage, tour guests can see the boxing ring ropes used by Jack Dempsey, the original dressing rooms still used for performances today, and the 1902 marble-backed light board that still controls the stage lighting.
Guests can marvel at stage sets dating to 1888, thought to be one of the largest intact collections from three eras in theatre history in the nation. They can stand on the storied Tabor stage, test out the acoustics, and peer at the trap door cut for magician Harry Houdini.
The Tabor Opera House was voted Best of Leadville in three categories this year: Best Music Venue, Best Landmark, and Best Preservation Project.
Tours will help visitors to learn the fascinating and still-unfolding story of this historical gem at the top of the Rockies.
How to Reserve a Tour
- Visitors must reserve and pay for tours in advance at TaborOperaHouse.net, with a maximum of 10 people per tour.
- For everyone’s safety, all guests must wear face coverings and practice social distancing while inside the Tabor.
- The tour cost is $12 for adults 18-60, $10 for students, children over 11, seniors, and veterans.
- Tours will run until Sept. 6, 2020.
Mining magnate Horace (H.A.W.) Tabor built the opera house in 1879 in just 100 days in one of the West’s rowdiest silver boomtowns. From the beginning it was the centerpiece of community social and cultural activity. Today, in a town with no community center, no movie theater, and no formal performance spaces, the Tabor Opera House remains a much-needed cultural and community center.
The Tabor Opera House is now the focus of a multi-year, $10 million rehabilitation.
“This elegant building, deemed a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has been endangered by nearly a century and a half of long winters in North America’s highest-elevation city,” explains President of the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation Mary Ann Graham-Best.
To learn more about progress on the project go to TaborOperaHouse.net and on Facebook. The 2020 performance season has been canceled, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.