(Originally published in the October 2005 MAGIC Newsletter)
by George Schmidt
Mishicot's Opera Hall is 112 years old. It was built in 1893 by Charles Levenhagen as an addition to the existing hotel and bar. The ice-cream parlor (and bowling alley at rear) were added later. Like many another small-town hall at the time, it was called an "Opera" Hall although it is doubtful whether any operas were ever given there. With size of about 60 x 60 feet, it was larger than most of the others.
After Charles' death in 1920, the hall, bar, and hotel were operated by Charles's son, Arthur ("Kelly") Levenhagen and his wife and family. Their daughter, Hazel Levenhagen, was a Mishicot primary teacher for many years. In the 1930's, 40's, and 50's especially, the hall was used for stage plays, concerts, basketball games, and other events for which the school auditorium was too small. The hall was also a frequent gathering place for dances, wedding parties, Lions' Club meetings, farmers' institutes, and occasionally shows by local talent (such as "TooNew" in the 20's) or by traveling entertainers.
In 1967 -- two years after Arthur's death -- the hall and hotel were sold to Mr. & Mrs. Frank Bremser, and continued to be operated much as before, including the serving of meals. Several of MAGIC's meetings and annual banquets were held there, as was a series of craft and antique shows. Hotel guests through the years sometimes included construction workers from various sites in the area such as the nuclear power plant in Two Creeks.
In 1994, when the Opera Hall was just over a century old, it was purchased by the Huntington Family. It is now used mainly for antique sales and storage.
Our thanks to Frank Bremser, Jim Sustman, the Two Rivers Lester Library and others for the information in this article. The Mishicot Museum has a tabletop model of the old hall which was made by Duane Jerabek in the 1970's. The Museum is interested in any other Opera Hall souvenirs which someone may donate.
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