McPherson, founded in 1872, quickly developed a degree of prosperity because of its rich agricultural land. Nevertheless, the men who formed a stock company to build the Opera House in 1888 had a bold vision. The Opera House, one of the first with electricity, had no equal between Kansas City and Denver.
On opening night, all 900 seats were sold—this in a town of less than 2,500 people—and the Opera House quickly established itself as the county’s cultural center.
For the next 30 years, a steady stream of performers graced the stage of the Opera House. Because of its opulence and superb acoustics, it was a favorite venue of the assorted acts that crisscrossed the country by train.
The Opera House also hosted political rallies, suffrage meetings and numerous local productions and events. It was the primary place where the citizens of McPherson could meet, interact, and understand themselves to be a community.