Originally named Antelope, the city of Taylor was founded in 1882 along the transcontinental rail line of the Northern Pacific Railway. Taylor, North Dakota is made up of approximately 150 residents. Those residents were in strong favor of restoring one of the long-standing buildings in town, the Taylor Opera House.
Built in 1913, the opera house, or town hall as it was also referred to, was originally constructed as a gathering place. It also housed a basketball gym. “That history goes back a long way with me because that used to be my basketball gymnasium,” says Daryl Jurgens city board alderman. The transition from a gymnasium to the Taylor Opera House was a result of the new Taylor school being built in 1962.
In mostly disarray, the 115 year old building was to be demolished prior to the town’s backing and support to refurbish it instead. After that decision was made, a committee named the Taylor Opera House Restoration Committee was formed with the goal to coordinate the restoration of the building and preserve its history while making the building a vibrant part of the community once again.
As part of a three phase process, the opera house received a new façade complete with an awning as well as an interior overhaul in the fall of 2019. The building received a new roof, new siding, ceiling and flooring repairs, as well as updates to plumbing and electrical work. The future of the Taylor Opera House is to be a community space not only for plays put on by community groups and the public school drama department, but also for events such as weddings, reunions, graduations, auction sales, and more.
Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) had been involved with some of the recent upgrades mentions Jurgens. The sponsorship from DCB&T was to be used towards the overall renovation of the opera house wherever additional costs were incurred. “I am very proud of Dakota Community Bank & Trust for doing that. They donated a lot of funds, and the facelift they helped to give it is awesome. They have been very supportive. They have been very faithful to lots of people here in the community.”
“The Opera House has been a city landmark for over 100 years. It is the only building in town with the capacity to hold a sizable function. It would have been such a shame to see it abandoned. I have been honored to be a part of the renovations and to see this tired, old building come back to life. Dakota Community Bank & Trust tries to be a strong supporter of the community and the Opera House is a good example of that support,” states DCB&T Taylor Branch President Vickie Solemsaas.
Jurgens urges the community of Taylor and the surrounding areas to come check out the new Taylor Opera House. Whether it be for a play or an event, he hopes that the community will continue to support the building and make use of the newly renovated facility.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director