Placeography:Featured place/2011-09

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Batcher Opera House, 418 2nd Avenue NE, Staples, Minnesota

Charles Edward Batcher was born near Rochester Minnesota in 1866. He studied architectural drawing in Minneapolis. By 1895 he had settled in Staples and in 1896 he married Jennie Root. Batcher's primary business was construction and he is credited with building at least 200 residences and commerical structures in Staples. He also operated a millwork factory which produced doors, windows and staircases for the interiors of his buildings. In 1907 he completed the construction of the two story Batcher Block building adjacent to the Main Street on 2nd Avenue and 4th Street NE. On the ground floor was a grocery and a hardware store. On the second floor Batcher added an opera house with a proscenium stage, two private boxes and a balcony. The theater's design maximizes acoustics according to John Scott Russell’s theory of an “isacoustic curve.” The walls gently slope upward toward coved ceilings, the seating slopes downward toward the stage. The predominant color of the theater's interior is a deep burgundy, by contrast, the private boxes are robin's egg blue. Elaborate cartouches, floral decorations, patriotic scenes and dragons ornament the interior. It is said to be the finest intact original interior of any Opera House in Minnesota.

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