Preservation Magazine, Fall 2017

Another Shot for Wisconsin's Plainfield Opera House

Plainfield Opera House in Plainfield, Wisconsin

photo by: Heidi Oberstadt/Heidi Oberstadt Media

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Fall 2017.

This 1902 structure in Plainfield, Wisconsin, was built as an opera house and performance venue, but over the years it has served as a dance hall, church, bar, and movie theater. Matt Makaryk, a Plainfield native who held his high school graduation party in the building in 1998, purchased it from its previous owner in 2011 for $2,500.

Makaryk is a major in the United States Army and is currently stationed in Macon, Georgia. He’s undertaking a restoration of the structure that he estimates will cost about $250,000. In September 2016, Makaryk received an email stating that the Plainfield Village Board was going to vote to raze three properties, including the opera house. He reached an agreement with the board stipulating that he would repair the building’s back wall and roof by the fall of 2017. The back wall project was completed in June, and the roof reconstruction will be completed in November.

Ultimately, Makaryk hopes, the ground floor will be used as an event and community center, while the bedrooms on the upper floor will serve as a bed-and-breakfast when Makaryk and his wife and daughter aren’t staying there. He plans to reopen the building in 2023, after his retirement from the military.

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

@kateallthetime

More than 12,000 years of history are written throughout the sacred landscape of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Tell your lawmakers to support the Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act and protect this special place.

Take Action