Tabor Opera House
The Tabor Opera House is the only Colorado site in a national competition to win $150,000 in historic preservation funding! Please learn more and VOTE TABOR up to 5 times/day, each day through Oct. 26, 2018!
Experience the splendor of this majestic opera house, once billed as the finest theatre between St. Louis and San Francisco. Silver baron Horace Tabor, who made his fortune in Leadville, built this opulent building in 1879 in a mere 100 days. Join us for performances and tours.
At the Tabor Opera House, you can enjoy concerts, plays, comedies, ballets, and more. Come be welcomed by ushers dressed in Victorian clothing and sit in an original red velvet seat. Check back for the 2019 performance calendar!
In the summer, tour the Tabor and stand on the stage where John Philip Sousa, Oscar Wilde, and Anna Held performed, and wander the dressing rooms beneath the stage.
In summer, tour the Tabor museum, a collection of memorabilia. See the historic ballroom where the socialites of Leadville’s boom days twirled, and to look out the tall upper floor windows over town and toward the western peaks.
Local youth and experienced local history buffs give tours every half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday, June – August.
Open for tours June through Labor Day.
- Adults: $10
- Seniors, Veterans, and Students: $8
- Kids under 10: Free
- Student Groups: $5/participant
The Museum Passport lets you visit all of Leadville’s museums—and get discounts on boat tours and train rides.
History and Revival
The Tabor Opera House was built in 1879 by silver mining magnate Horace Austin Warner (HAW) Tabor and in its heyday hosted the likes of conductor John Philip Sousa, British wit Oscar Wilde, the great actress Sarah Bernhardt, and performer Anna Held. Even a circus with tigers has paraded across the stage.
Around the turn of the century, 150 opera houses graced the state. Today, only eight stand as a proud monument to Colorado history. The City of Leadville has recently purchased the Tabor Opera House and is working to revitalize this magnificent brick theater.
How the Tabor Opera House was Built
The Tabor Opera House was built in 1879 by Horace Austin Warner (HAW) Tabor, one of Colorado’s most well known mining magnates. It was one of the most costly and most substantially built structures in Colorado history. The construction materials were not available in Leadville, so HAW Tabor ordered that they be brought up by wagons… a tedious task. Nevertheless, the Tabor was completed in only 100 days from the date of ground-breaking, which was a record time.
The massive three-story opera house was constructed of stone, brick, and iron, and trimmed with Portland cement. Its solid brick walls stand 16 inches thick. The color scheme used was red, gold, white, and sky blue, lit by 72 jets of brightly burning gas lights. This substantial construction has weathered the test of time.
Evelyn Livingston Furman
Evelyn Livingston Furman, who sold Maytag wringer washers, bought the Tabor Opera House from the Elks in 1954 and personally ran it until she was 84 years old. Along the way, Evelyn wrote three books that tell the story of the Opera House, Augusta Tabor, and Silver Dollar Tabor. Eventually, she turned the controls to her daughter Sharon Furman Bland and her husband Bill.
Leadville Purchases the Tabor to Create a Community Hub
In November 2016, the City of Leadville purchased the Tabor Opera House and is revitalizing this grand old building as a community hub. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is an invaluable partner on the revitalization project. Want to contribute? Learn about season sponsorship opportunities.
Visit the Tabor Opera House for a performance or tour!