Historic Tabor Opera House Responds Swiftly to Building Incident

Leadville, CO – On Saturday, March 23rd, at 4:30 p.m., first responders were dispatched to the historic Tabor Opera House on Harrison Avenue following reports of falling brick pieces onto the sidewalk. The Leadville Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, City Police, Community Planning and Development Department, and Public Works quickly mobilized to the scene. They successfully rerouted traffic, barricaded the sidewalk below to protect bystanders, and gently removed additional loose debris and bird nesting under the tin cornice flashing on the SW corner of the building to stabilize the area.

The Fire Department recommended a temporary, multi-day closure of the sidewalk, bike lane, and Northbound lane of Harrison Avenue until the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation (TOHPF) can bring in architecture and engineering experts to further evaluate and stabilize the corner. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident. The TOHPF has already raised funds and released an Invitation for Bid (IFB) package 24-001 to seek bids from contractors to restore the cornice and underlying brickwork this summer. Work is scheduled to begin in earnest in June.

Over the past four years, construction at the Tabor Opera House has successfully secured and rehabilitated more than 95% of the brickwork on all four sides of the building, with the only exception being the brickwork under the cornice. These phases have also restored the ghost signs (murals) and all the historic windows on the second and third stories. This summer’s scope of work will focus on restoring the bricks under the cornice and the cornice itself. Next summer, the work will continue to restore the balcony over the storefronts and the West storefront framing and windows. This combined phase of work over two summers will complete the exterior repairs to the “envelope” of the nationally landmarked building. Following this, the TOHPF Board will focus on fundraising over $25 million to restore the interior, including the theater, ballroom, storefronts, offices, stairways, balcony, backstage, as well as bring in modern utilities, plumbing, HVAC, and an elevator.

Sarah Dae, Executive Director of the TOHPF, stated, “We are very grateful that no one was injured, and thankful that the fundraising for repairing this area of the building was already teed up for this coming construction season. This incident is an important reminder to us of the fragility of Leadville’s historic buildings, and the urgent necessity to continue to rapidly fundraise and complete all phases of rehabilitation, so these cultural and historic assets don’t fall apart and disappear forever.”

Dan R
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