The Fife Opera House is located on the second floor of the Fife Hardware Store in Palestine, Illinois. It was built by David Fife and operated from 1901-1912. It seated 700 people on red leather seats. It had electric fans and was heated by a coal furnace. There were five sets of scenery, some of which are still visible today. Local talent shows, stock theatrical companies, band concerts, a Lyceum Series, special speakers, and commencements drew crowds from Hutsonville, Robinson, Flat Rock, and Merom.

Today, the Opera House is not functioning and vistors only briefly tour the second floor. The first floor, however, is still extensively used, for special occasions such as art shows and the annual Teeny Tiny Tea Party.

These are two of the original five scenes from the Fife Opera House. You can view them today by going to the second floor of the building. They are extremely old. For their age, however, they are in surprisingly good condition. In the picture on the left, the large horizontal white stripe shows the location of the now-removed stage.

The Palestine Preservation Projects Society, located at 123 S. Main Street, Palestine, IL, is currently collecting monies to restore the Fife Opera House. The scene of many gay and festive celebrations, as well as vaudeville theater in the early 1900s, the upstairs theatre still has many original and hand painted stage sets. The building is currently used for various community activities, family and school reunions, and has special programs. The Palestine Preservation Projects Society is a non-profit organization and appreciates any and all donations. For more information, visit their website.

This picture shows the last few remaining chairs from the original opera house.

See also this newspaper article from March 16, 1908 describing a fiddler's contest held at the opera house for the benefit of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

Note: The Hutson Cabin, Oblong Oil Field and local school photos were taken by Warren Jennings in August 1999. A special thank you to Warren for his time and effort.