Tour Schedule (subject to change):
Visitors will meet at 8 West Vine Street (next to the barbershop)
Friday, August 12: 5pm - 7 pm OR 6pm - 8pm
Saturday, August 13: 4pm - 7pm
Sunday, August 14: 1pm - 3pm
The Woodward Development Corporation will be hosting modified tours of the Woodward Opera House, America’s oldest authentic 19th century theater, during the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival. Visitors will gather at 8 West Vine Street (next to the barbershop behind the crane), where they will be introduced to the current state of construction, and get a sneak peek at the work going on at the rear of the buildings via Plum Alley.
Guides will be available to explain the progress of the project to date and explain the mission and objectives of the organizations promoting the restoration project. Visitors SHOULD NOT wander into the alley — please wait at 8 West Vine Street for a guide to direct you.
Situated at the corner of South Main and Vine Street in the heart of downtown Mount Vernon, the Woodward Opera House (built in 1850-51) occupies the third and fourth floor of the Italianate style historic commercial building. Mount Vernon’s own Dan Emmett was one of the many performers who graced the theater stage during its time.
The project to restore the Woodward to its 1880s configuration and re-open it as a 21st century performing arts venue began in 1998 and has been divided into 8 phases. Phase 1, 2 and now 3 are complete, as the exterior renovation was finished in 2007. The Woodward exterior now has its original look back. Last year the conversion of all occupied spaces to geothermal heating and cooling continued with development of a water well and replacing natural gas with geothermal units in two more locations. This initiative lowers operating costs and the capital cost of the project. It also reduces the Woodward's carbon footprint and will aid our effort to become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Phase 4 will begin as soon as the balance of funds are raised to move forward with that portion of the project.
Phase 3X was completed in 2012. 3,000 square feet of the second floor has been successfully restored and renovated to accommodate the offices of the Woodward Development Corp. and the Knox County CVB. Both historic entrances off of Main and Vine Streets were restored, as well. Phase 3X of the project also included reinforcement of the theater floor/second floor ceiling to meet the final structural requirements. Approximately $2 million towards the $6.6 million needed for Phase 4 has been raised.
Come see the results of the recent work. Visit during the Festival and you will (1) learn what the team has learned about the 1884 layout of the theater, lobby and entryways; (2) see the preliminary plans for restoring the Theater to its 19th century appearance and for enabling its use with twenty-first century requirements and amenities; (3) see plans for renovation of the rest of the Woodward and Annex buildings for them to become a leading cultural and performing arts venue in central Ohio; (4) experience the completed restoration of three downtown Woodward building store interiors, and our 80 seat blackbox theater, ThePlace@TheWoodward; and (5) get a complete explanation of the recent completion of the exterior restoration work.
The Woodward Opera House will be open for tours during the Festival. If you have questions concerning the Woodward, you can visit the historic site during the Festival and ask one of our knowledgeable docents. For additional information on the Woodward, call 740-392-6142 or visit their web site at www.TheWoodward.org.