The Ark Valley’s rich history permeates the environment, from the land to downtown culture. So many sites and structures around the area allow an easy step back into the days of old and a chance to imagine the hustle and bustle of a time when mining and the railroad boomed. In an effort to preserve a tangible piece of local history, the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation is actively raising money to refurbish the antique opera house on Harrison Avenue in Leadville. To encourage community involvement, the foundation is hosting its first community talent show.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, entertainers of all ages will perform at the Tabor Opera House, showcasing a myriad of artistry. The grand prize winner of the show will take home an exciting title of first place and a $250 award. The family-friendly affair held auditions recently, encouraging all age-appropriate acts to come be a part of the community gathering for a good cause. The opera house will provide two mics and a grand piano; all other props or necessities will be supplied by the performers. Admission is $5 at the door, and doors will open an hour prior to the show.

Built in 1879 by Colorado miner Horace Tabor, the opera house was one of the most costly constructions in the state’s early history and was completed in only 100 days from breaking ground to grand opening. Standing three stories tall, the massive building was constructed using stone, brick and iron. It blends in with the skies and peaks that surround it, and its gleaming red, white, blue and gold emphasize the glorious reputation it once held. The opera house can be found on the National Historical Landmark list and is designated as a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In its heyday, the Tabor hosted renowned performers such as Houdini and Oscar Wilde, and the preservation foundation hopes to restore the opera house to its former glory. Scott Carroll, artistic director of the Tabor Opera House, is excited to see the community talent show finally take place and has high hopes for a great turnout.

“All of our efforts right now are to keep the opera house open and running and get the renovations and restoration started. It’s been something that I have wanted to do in the community,” Carroll said. “And we are eager to give it a go. It really is something fun to host and a chance for the community (members) to show off their talents.”

The town of Leadville purchased the opera house last year, and the foundation has been hosting a variety of events to keep the charm and appeal alive as well as taking care of the restoration for the public’s enjoyment. For a complete list of events or to donate to the cause, visit

“I am looking forward to introducing the event and seeing the community get involved with what the Tabor Opera House is all about,” he said.