The building that’s now home to Dickens Opera House and Dickens 300 Prime was originally built 1881 by William Henry Dickens, a relative of the famous author Charles Dickens. William Henry, the son of Mary Allen, came to the area in 1860 as a young man.
When he built the opera house he was one of the largest land owners of the time. The parcel that the building sits on was given to his father by Ulysses S. Grant, the president.
His goal with the opera house was to bring society and culture to a growing community. He furnished it with lavish sets.
The building also housed the original Longmont college in 1885 until a building was completed on Atwood Street.
The site survived the devastating fire which destroyed much of downtown Longmont and has continued to operate under many business ventures since.
The original vault remains...
It first was a bank and the original vault remains.
There are those that believe the opera house and bank below house a presence of past occupants still in the walls and corridors.
In the Tin room, there are two large portraits of the early days of the bank and the bar. If you look carefully you can make out the image of the terrier that Dickens owned. There is, in another shot the headless torso of a waitress in front of a window. . . believe it or not. See for yourself.
In the early days many of the transients and homeless were allowed to spend the nights in the basement in exchange for cleaning up after the parties. They enjoyed eating and drinking the leftovers of the guests. There is a tale of an actor and his girlfriend who were discovered and killed by the irate husband of the actress. They may still be there...
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