The Menominee Opera House

The Menominee Opera House was built in 1902 by a group of local businessmen, to enhance the cultural life of the community.  The original interior housed seating for up to 1,000 patrons and sported two balconies to do so.  Stock companies and road shows were standard fare until about 1920, when movies became popular.

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As film competed with the stage for people’s attention, the building changed hands a few times before the stage house was gutted by a fire in 1950, under private ownership.  The mezzanine balcony was removed, and a level concrete floor was poured to transform the opera house into a warehouse until 1973, when the roof collapsed, due to fire damage.  In 1981, the Vennema family purchased the derelict building, slowly repairing the roof and brickwork.

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Today, the Menominee Opera House Committee, Inc. (an affiliate of the historical society) owns the Opera House, a gift to the community by the Vennema family.  They are a non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of restoring and operating the stage house as a Performing Arts Center, complete with an old-fashioned feel, but new-age facilities.