Oakley Valley Arts Council seeking help in repairing the Historic Howells Opera House

Project is still 100K away from being able to start.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 3:10 PM MDT
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OAKLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The Historic Howells Opera House has been in the community of Oakley for over 100 years.

Funded by Judge Benjamin Price Howells, who wanted somewhere performances could be held, and was completed in the year 1907.

The building has stood the test of time, being added to the national registry of historic places in Idaho in 1972, and has been cared for by the residents of Oakley all this time.

However, you may have noticed that the last few years the Opera House, which has a yearly Christmas recital, has been hosting the event at different locations over the last few years.

This is because during their showing of “The Scarlett Pimpernel” one of the actors noticed something strange about the ceiling.

“And he said ‘I see that ceiling every night does that look like it’s sagging a little bit?’ and I said ‘Yes, it is.’ and so as soon as the show was over I went into the ceiling and what I saw was not good. We have trusses up there. The old trusses were starting to split and crack.” Denny Davis, one of the board members of Oakley Valley Arts Council has been working on the project.

OVAC has met with several groups, including the Idaho Heritage Trust, and a structural engineer who asked “How long do you want this theatre to continue operating?”

To which the board responded with “We’d like it to stand for another 115 years.”

Recently they held an event called “The Veiled Vocalist” where the audience was given a prime rib dinner, a show, and the opportunity to decide the winner of the event.

“The dragon is the one that won.” Denny Davis said.

While the audience enjoyed the show and even asked when the next one would be, the Oakley Valley Arts Council wants to hold the next one at their own theatre.

However, they are still $100,000 short of their goal to ensure that the contractors would be paid.

Until they can raise the rest of the money, the community will continue to feel the loss of this theatre

Wendell Wells, a Building Committee of the Oakley Valley Arts Council said “A lot of what happens in this building spills over into the community, our Christmas Concert for instance, people from that wind up performing those numbers in a lot of churches around the area.”

If you are interested in donating you can visit their website, or go directly to their go fund me page.