about the opera house
The Edwards Town Hall Opera House, located at 161 Main St., Edwards, NY, is an architecturally unique theater seating about 275 people, with superb acoustics, raked auditorium and raised stage floor, with its original painted front curtain well preserved and still in place. We are fortunate to have this unusually intact example of a type of facility no longer surviving in most small towns in Northern New York.
Donations for use and restoration of the Opera House are tax deductible.
In August of 1894 the Northern Tribune announced that Williams and Johnston, architects of Ogdensburg, NY, had completed plans for a new town hall in Edwards to replace the one recently destroyed by fire. Two years later this handsome building was completed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, using Potsdam sandstone, Gouverneur marble, and brick. The ground floor provided space for municipal offices, and at various times through the years also housed a jail, the post office, a bank, a barbershop, a roller-skating rink, and presently, the Edwards History Center. An open stairway in the corner tower of the building provides access to the second floor opera house, which was used for school graduations, theatrical performances by local as well as traveling shows, a polling place and later, a movie house.
about the edwards arts council
The Edwards Arts Council was formed in 2002 to oversee whatever repairs and rehabilitation were necessary in order to preserve the historic Town Hall. Crawford Stearns, architects and preservation planners from Syracuse, NY, were retained to assess the condition of the building and make recommendations for a program of restoration and expanded use. Their report was funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. Community support for the fund-raising program has been strong, and is ongoing. Fund raising events include the use of the Opera House as a venue for a series of varied musical programs throughout the summer months, and a free Halloween show for children in October. The Edwards Arts Council views the preservation of the combined Town Hall and Opera House as a keystone of local revitalization efforts, and a model for broader economic renewal affecting the economy and quality of life in Edwards and the surrounding area.