August 25, 2017 – Lewis Contractors recently completed restoration work on the historic Havre de Grace Opera House located in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
Constructed in 1870, the 147-year-old, city-owned building underwent renovations to better serve as a multi-use community theatre and performing arts venue. Located on North Union Avenue in the heart of Havre de Grace, the building has been used by the public since 1871 as an opera house, school, city hall, library and most recently, a two-story theatre.
Lewis President, Tyler Tate said at the ribbon cutting, “Lewis is honored to have had this opportunity to partner with the Havre de Grace community in delivering this transformative project. This place that will be used by families and people of all ages. The performing arts are an essential part of our culture—the reflection of who we are as Americans. How gratifying it is to see the community invest in this worthy endeavor.”
Work on the opera house involved comprehensive interior renovations and the restoration of the building’s exterior façade to historic period significance. Under strict guidance of the Maryland Historic Trust, the brick masonry exterior was restored, the windows were replaced, and new brick infills were salvaged for parts in order to restore the remaining double sash windows. Even some of the mahogany panels from the chamber room were salvaged and cleaned—they now provide decorative column covers in the first floor gathering space.
The entire tin ceiling needed a comprehensive restoration requiring pieces of the ceiling and its three-part crown molding to be removed, modified, and reinstalled to meet the new configuration of the walls within the theater and its new control room.
Prior to its restoration, the Opera House had no handicap accessibility to the second floor audience chamber and the heavy, cumbersome theatrical sets had to be navigated up a wooden staircase to the old stage. The new elevator within the building’s addition now serves the first and second floors and has an additional stop 6-feet above the second floor, specifically designed to reach the stage level.
The finished lobbies, offices, restrooms, dressing rooms, hallways and gathering areas are beautiful, ADA compliant, and energy efficient with their state-of-the-art HVAC zones and controls.
The completion of the restoration was celebrated by a black-tie affair and ribbon cutting on Saturday, August 5th.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS. Founded as general contractors in 1966 Lewis Contractors is celebrating its first 50 years of building Maryland. An award winning, family owned and operated construction management and general contracting firm, Lewis engages in all types of academic, institutional, restoration, industrial, and commercial projects, the Lewis Team delivers a tradition of excellence, innovative thinking, and attention to detail to their clients’ projects.