TOLEDO, Iowa — When the curtain goes up at the renovated Wieting Theater in Toledo on July 1, it will be the original one that graced the stage when the opera house opened 100 years ago.
The $1.3 million restoration, which began in 2008, is complete — brass rails are polished, the stage’s hardwood floor shines and all 300 seats are new.
“We’re hoping it helps enhance the standing of the entire small town community,” Jim Roan, a Toledo attorney who spearheaded the restoration, told The Gazette (http://bit.ly/Lr8JQQ ).
“There aren’t too many free-standing opera houses like this in Iowa,” he said.
The original 1912 curtain, which features a pastoral rural scene, was made near Minneapolis and will be raised during the official grand opening on July 1.
The restoration was paid for with $500,000 in state funds — including a grant— and $300,000 from local and regional sources. Another $400,000 came from more than 600 individuals and businesses. Roan said the $175,000 debt that remains should be paid off by 2014.
Ella Wieting had the theater built in honor of her late husband, Phillip. He was a dentist and abstracter in Toledo before they returned to their native New York. She turned ownership and control of the theater over to the community.
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