©2008 Historic Downtown Association-St. Charles
311 North Main
1881 J. N. and J. C. Mittelberger
St. Charles Opera House/J. N. Mittelberger Dry Goods
John N. Mittleberger's original two story brick building housed an Opera House in the 1860's and 1870's until it was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of January 1, 1881. The same year he rebuilt a new second floor Opera House with his dry goods store on the ground floor. Dry goods and clothing continued to be sold here by various merchants until 1993.
The popular new St. Charles Opera House had its entrance from 12' high double doors on Main Street, up the open staircase to a ticket booth on the landing. Its auditorium had three hundred and fifty seats with a horseshoe shaped balcony, a twenty five foot stage with a dressing room on each side, decorative plaster ceiling moldings, and paneled balcony railings. Exquisitely dressed patrons attended performances including vaudeville acts, dramas, silent movies, and guests appearances by 'famous' people.
Remodeling in the early 1900's changed the ground floor mercantile to recessed windows to better display merchandise and age claimed the original balcony, portal dormers and roof castings which have not been replaced. Major restoration in 1995 reconstructed the original window openings and revealed the original Victorian decorative cast iron columns and floral bracketing. The upper level is now two floors of office space, in spite of the collapse of much of the roof structure which threatened the entire building before the remodeling was completed.