Landmarks : The Selby Opera House

Posted by Michael Zimny on
Selby Opera House, 1986
Fritz Clement

The Selby Opera House first opened to the public on December 7, 1908, with a dramatic performance by “the celebrated Dougherty Stock Company.”

At the turn of the century, Selby was a one of several towns in Walworth County — including Java, Glenham and Evarts — which sprung up when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway (CM&StP) extended from Bowdle to the Missouri River.

milwaukeeroadmap1924_120.jpg

The Selby began showing films in 1914. A Vitaphone was later installed, in 1930, so the theater could show “talkies.” During WWII, the Opera House was remodeled and reopened.

Over the years, the two-story brick building — with Classical Revival features like cornice with dentrils and stone lintel and sills on the windows — has served as an opera house, community play house, pool hall, public library, music instruction studio, movie theater, roller skating rink and auditorium for public meetings, basketball games, concerts, pageants and club meetings. 

From 1910 until 1951, the Opera House also housed the switchboard — and sleeping quarters for the night operator — of the local telephone office.

selbyopera.JPGThe Selby Opera House today.

The city of Selby purchased the building in 1919, and has owned it ever since, though management has passed through several hands.

After the 1942 reopening the Selby Record called the Opera House, “one of the finest community auditoriums in this part of the state,” and to this day it still is. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

food blog link image children and education blog image arts & culture blog news and information blog link sports blog link image
subscribe to sdpb email updates

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

Man Teaches Lakota Lessons Through Hoops

A Lakota man is celebrating three decades teaching life lessons to elementary school students through Native...

Dignity Dedicated Near Chamberlain

South Dakota has a new monumental piece of art. A fifty foot tall stainless steel sculpture now stands on the...

NATIVE Act Boosts Tribal Tourism, Art

This week Congress passed an act to spur tribal tourism and increase support for tribal art. The act boosts federal...

Dakota Midday: 'Rivers, Wings, And Sky' And Artistic Partnership

Art and poetry go hand in hand. Artist Nancy Losacker and and poet Norma Wilson show just how to combine the two creative outlets in their joint-exhibit and new...

Books

Michael Dirda: A Life In Books And The Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer Michael Dirda takes a look back at a career as a professional reader. From...

Dakota Midday: J. Ryan Stradal

J. Ryan Stradal is the author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest. A Minnesota native, Stradal lives in Los Angeles...

Dakota Midday: Paul Andrew Hutton

Paul Andrew Hutton joined Dakota Midday from the SD Festival of Books in Brookings. Hutton is a distinguished...

Dakota Midday: Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of the 2016 Young Readers One Book South Dakota, Andy Shane and Delores...

Music

Dakota Midday: Bob Everhart Tours With Rural Music

Live phone interview with Smithsonian-Folkways recording artist Bob Everhart. He’ll discuss the preservation of...

Glenn Miller Music Still Puts Folks "In The Mood"

Glenn Miller and his big band were at the height of their fame when World War Two began. Two years after...

Original Compositions Celebrate National Parks

A Michigan ensemble is hitting the road with new music to celebrate the anniversary of the National Park System. Two...

Dakota Midday: Hank Harris And Jeff Severson

Hank Harris and Jeff Severson join Dakota Midday for live music and musings on everything from the influence of...

Theater

Dakota Midday: Lisa McNulty On Female Artists

The Off-Broadway Women's Project Theater is the oldest and largest theater company that promotes women artists in...

Dakota Midday: Playwright Bill Russell's Journey to Broadway

Tony nominated Broadway lyricist and playwright Bill Russell was born in Deadwood and raised in Spearfish. His...

DWU Plans $1 Million Theater Project

After dedicating a new sports and wellness center this past month, Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell is now...

DakotaCast Podcast (Episode #12): Rapid City Central Theater Director Justin Speck

The 60th annual State One Act Play Festival took place at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls over the weekend. It...