The Beating Heart of Leadville: The fight to keep the Tabor Opera House alive

Our Colorado: Residents hope to preserve history
Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-19 21:10:19-04

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LEADVILLE, Colo. – Colorado is changing every day. There is so much growth and development that if you compare some cities to how they looked 100 years ago you, would not recognize them. But there are some corners in Colorado that look the same even a hundred years later, as is the case with the City of Leadville.

At the center of the small town rests the Tabor Opera House

“I call it the beating heart of Leadville,” said Stephanie Spong, the president of the Tabor Opera House. “It’s going on it’s 140th year. It was built by Horace Tabor.”

To understand the significance about the Tabor Opera House, you first have to know who Horace Tabor was.

“He was highly controversial first of all,” Spong said. “He left his wife, Augusta, for another woman – Baby Doe. That outraged a lot of folks. He had strong opinions about politics, like most folks do today. And he built big – he built the opera house in 100 days.”

In Colorado, Tabor was possibly not well liked by some people.

“I think around here we kind of like our Horace Tabor,” Spong said. “He built the beautiful opera house.”

The Tabor Opera House has lived in Leadville for nearly 140 years, with different owners throughout the decades.

Recently, the opera house was threatened by neglect.

“We got holes coming through the chimney and the sky up there,” Spong said. “We’ve done an estimate of $ 8-and-a-half to $10 million to rehabilitate this building and keep it sturdy for another 100 years.”

The people of Leadville are bringing the Tabor Opera House back to life, and the house is seeing people perform there again for the first time in years.

“We just raised $316,000 and started last month on our architecture and engineering project,” Spong said. “We also received $500,000 from the Save America’s Treasure grant.”

The town is in the early process of saving the Tabor Opera House in order to rehabilitate it and preserve it to keep the building as part of its significant history.

If you want to help donate to the Tabor Opera House, click here.