Edwards Arts Council
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Edwards Town HallEdwards Opera House

The Edwards Town Hall Opera House is an architecturally unique theater seating about 275 people, with superb acoustics, raked auditorium and stage floor, with its original painted front curtain well preserved and still in place.  We are fortunate to have this unusually intact example of a type of facility no longer surviving in most small towns in Northern New York.Under the direction of the Edwards Arts Council and as part of plans for restoring the historic town hall building, the theater is being refurbished and its stage area reconfigured as it was originally at the turn of the last century, with wings and hanging backdrop.The success of the Arts Councils' mission - to promote arts expression and rehabilitate a landmark building as a basis for community renewal - will depend on your interest and support.  Donations for use and restoration of the Opera House are tax deductible.

Mission Statement

In August of 1894 the Northern Tribune announced that Williams and Johnston, architects of Ogdensburg, had completed plans for a new town hall in Edwards, N.Y., to replace the one recently destroyed by fire.  Two years later this handsome building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, using Potsdam sandstone, Gouverneur marble and brick, was completed.  The ground floor provided space for municipal offices and at various times through the years also housed a jail, the post office, a bank, a barbershop, a roller-skating rink, and presently, the Edwards History Center.  An open stair in the corner tower of the building gave access to the second floor opera house used for school graduations and theatrical performances by local as well as traveling shows.  It was also the polling place and later became a movie house.  This historic town hall, with various modifications still serves the town and village of Edwards.  It is presently in need of extensive repair and rehabilitation that are in keeping with its historic features.  With this in view the Edwards Arts Council was formed in 2002.  Crawford Stearns, architects and preservation planners of Syracuse, were retained to assess the condition of the building and make recommendations for a program of restoration and expanded use.  Their report was funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.  A fund-raising program with strong community support is in progress.  It includes the use of the opera house as a venue for a series of varied musical programs through the summer months and a free Halloween show for children in October.  It is hoped that the preservation of the town hall and opera house will be the keystone of local revitalization efforts and a model for broader economic renewal effecting the structure and economy of Edwards as well as the surrounding area.


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