City Hall & Delphi Opera House - Quick Facts

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City Hall Timeline

Completed in 1865 by Mr. Cook of Lafayette for merchants Joseph Assion and John Ruffing. “City Hall” referred to the Grand Hall on the third floor—a free span of 60’ x 60’. This City Hall did not have a government function. The first event in the hall was a ball held on June 16, 1865 for Company B, 86th Indiana Volunteers and other soldiers returning home from the Civil War. Another ball was held there a few weeks later to celebrate the 4th of July.

Balls were held frequently in the Hall, as were lectures, dinners, concerts, demonstrations, and other entertainments.
By 1881 the Delphi newspapers are reporting on work to transform City Hall into an opera house. Barnett and Mohr put a tin roof on City Hall in 1881. John Ennis was hard at work in December 1881 on the “scenery, curtains, etc. for Lathrope’s opera house.” February reports that remodeling is rapidly progressing. New steps are built in March 1882 to facilitate access all the way to the street.

Opera House Timeline

Restoration Timeline

1994—Delphi Preservation Society founded.
1996—DPS acquires 2/3 of the building; rst feasibility study on restoring the Opera House.
1998—Assion-Ruffing Building & Opera House listed in National Register of Historic Places.
2005—Tonsil Klackers perform in the Opera House during Old Settlers Celebration— first performance since 1914!
2005—Opera House Task Force formed to focus on restoration.
2006—Structural Analysis completed.
2006-2007—Schematic Designs for Restoration; remaining 1/3 of building purchased.
2007-2009—Major Facade Restoration utilizing Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant and matching funds.
2009-2010—Wallpaper and other decorative elements sampled and analyzed in a Decorative Arts Analysis.
2010-11—Plaster medallions and remaining ceiling removed and the roof was replaced with HPF grant.
2012—Delphi becomes a Stellar Community; the Delphi Opera House restoration is the centerpiece!
2014—Construction begins for Delphi Opera House restoration. $4.3 million dollar project with $2.6 million from Stellar funding and remaining $1.7 million pledged by DPS. The Society is now working to retire the debt.
2015—Delphi Opera House reopened as a community center and performing arts venue! The facility is owned by the Delphi Preservation Society and operated by Delphi Opera House, Inc.