Hardwick Town House
127 Church Street,
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Previous Names: Hardwick Opera House; Hardwick Town Hall Theatre
The Hardwick Town House was built as a primary school, in 1860 for the Hardwick Academy. When they moved to new digs, the building was converted to an opera house in 1893 (the Town Opera House and sometimes Hardwick Opera House) and may have been where local residents saw their first motion pictures as traveling movie shows arrived as early as 1902 to Hardwick.
Like many small town opera house, in the 1910’s, the Hardwick Opera House showed silent films including a successful run of “Birth of a Nation”. With the Idle Hour Theatre switching to sound films, the days of films appeared to be totally behind the Hardwick Opera House turned back to Town House.
Late in 1941, however, Lelia “Ma” and Gardner “Dad” Orton converted the space into the Hardwick Town House Theatre. It launched November 1, 1941 with the feature announcement made on WDEV radio. Though the theatrical venture was short-lived, the Hardwick Town House remains a vibrant community-run art venue to this day.
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