In 1890, Charles Durand recognized Glenwood Springs’ need for a community meeting place. Other towns throughout the West had such places. They were places where ideas could be discussed but also places where fine culture could be experienced. Durand knew that Glenwood Springs required an opera house.This idea was not new. In 1888 a building had been proposed at 312 Seventh St. for just such a purpose. Although initially designed as a three-story structure consisting of retail stores on the first floor and an opera house on the second and third floors, the plan was scaled back resulting in a single-story structure. But, in 1890, Charles Durand’s idea of expanding the 312 Seventh St. building took hold. Durand added a stage and auditorium to the structure. By late April 1891, finishing touches were complete and the new opera house, also known as Durand’s Hall, was opened to the public. Durand’s Hall was not idle. On April 25, 1891, the I.O.O.F. convention and State Bridge Dedication ceremonies took place in part at the opera house. In May 1891, Durand’s Opera House welcomed its first dignitary when President Benjamin Harrison delivered a speech within its halls. A decade later, John Philip Sousa and his band gave a rousing performance of marches here, drawing an audience from far beyond the city limits of Glenwood Springs.By the late 1920s the opera house became known as the Odeon Theatre, hosting dances and silent movies. It was during the filming of the movie “The Great K and A Train Robbery” in 1926 that silent film star Tom Mix staged a prize fight at the Odeon.The opera house building was connected to the adjacent structure to the east in 1946. And since 1948, the building has been the official home of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.
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