Norway Maine Opera House

Rebuilt after the Great Fire in 1894, the Norway Maine Opera House stands proudly in the center of historic Norway, Maine. The building was the center for both commerce and entertainment, it was the site for graduations, dances, theater and traveling shows. After a series of owners and lack of maintenance over the years, it had fallen into disrepair. In Phase 1, the Town of Norway acquired the building through an eminent domain process and a generous $200,000 donation by Bea and Bill Damon brought ownership of the building to the town.


Phase 2 of the rehabilitation was to stabilize the building, which was funded by a federal CBDG grant to the town of Norway.


The Norway Opera House has undergone rehabilitation of the first floor space and basements in Phase 3 of the project. Rehabilitation includes high-impact energy improvements with little or no impact on existing historic features. These strategies include installing insulation around the retail spaces, improving electric lighting efficiency, upgrading the mechanical systems, and installing double glazed storefront glass.


The Town of Norway received a grant from the Communities for Maine's Future in the amount of $400,000 for rehabilitation. The Town transferred ownership of the Opera House in 2012 to the non-profit Norway Opera House Corporation. The NOHC borrowed $400,000 from Norway Savings Bank, to be paid back, in part, by using eligible rehabilitation tax credits. The NOHC's part of the loan repayment is $300,000, a conservative investment given its long term value.


In 2013 the rehabilitation work was completed and in March the first retail space and drugstore in use. Within two months, all five retail spaces were in use and once again bringing people to Main Street. That same year, the rehabilitation project received a Maine Preservation Honor award for Commercial-Restoration/ Rehabilitation.


Moving forward, the rehabilitation of the second floor hall is in our sights in Phase 4. With the help of community support, grants and use of Maine and National Historic tax credits, we look forward to future use of the hall again as arts, performance and community multi-use space.


Once again this magnificent building, which has stood silent for too long, has the lights on and welcomes you to come in for a visit.


If you would like to donate to Phase 4, please send a check to our address listed on this page or visit our website to pay by Paypal. The Norway Opera House Corporation is a non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible.


Nov 1, 2012 Adertiser Democrat Article


For more information, email or call Bruce Cook.  | 207-890-7920


A project of the
Norway, Maine Opera House Corporation, Inc.


Please make your

tax-deductible donation to help

save the Norway Opera House.

The Opera House in 1906, from a postcard published by G. W. Morris, Portland, Maine.

In 2003, Maine Preservation listed the Norway Opera House as a "Most Endangered Historic Property."

The back of the Norway Opera House showing damage to the roof. (Photo by Leslie Dixon, Sun Journal)

Copyright © 2011–2012 Norway Opera House Corporation, Inc.    Main Street, Norway, Maine   All right reserved.