Demolition begins in historic Allen’s Opera House for three movie screen Fox Theater

Work has begun to prepare Cozad’s historic Allen’s Opera House as the location of a new three screen movie theater.

Cozad community can welcome Fox Theater operators on Thursday, Feb. 6

COZAD — Work has begun in Cozad’s historic Allen’s Opera House to incorporate a three screen movie theater, to be named the Fox Theater, which will bring back an entertainment venue to the 100th Meridian community.

Cozad Development Corporation Executive Director Jennifer McKeone said demolition work has recently started in the building and the final plans for the theater will be presented to the community in the near future.

The CDC found in their community needs survey, demand for a movie theater in Cozad was high. The options were weighed on whether or not to build a brand new building, but then the CDC purchased the historic Allen’s Opera House on the corner of 8th St. and Meridian.

After a structural survey, the CDC applied for a grant from the Civic Center and Community Finance Fund from the state, which was awarded.

The funding won’t only come from the grant and this is where the CDC is turning to the Cozad community for support.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, the Cozad community can welcome the Fox Theater to town and meet the operators. This is where the CDC will also kick off their fundraising campaign. The event runs from 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and will take place at the Cozad Elks Club.

While the CDC will own the theatre, it will be leased to Stewart Fox of Broken Bow. His family has operated the Tiffany Theater for more than 15 years. They will run the day to day operations of the theater.

The target date of the theater opening is July, McKeone said.

The Allen’s Opera House was built by Charles Hart and a Mr. Shanholt in 1906 for Charles E. Allen, a business man and banker who co-owned the Cozad State Bank and the Allen’s General Store, both businesses were located on the first floor of the building, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since Sept. 28, 1988. Its construction is consistent with most Nebraska opera houses built in the 20th century, the façade lacks ornamentation, aside from stone ledges above and below the windows, according to the building’s historic registration form.

The building played host to a variety of performing arts including musical concerts, home talent, high school productions, the actor Eugene Moore, touring stock companies, dialect plays, minstrel shows and the performance of classic plays.

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