While many developers chose to tear down old buildings so they can build new ones, a 19th century structure has been saved in far northeast Iowa that’s finding new life in the 21st century. Decorah’s historic Steyer Opera House first opened in 1870 and had a long run before it was closed for decades. More recently, it was subject of a recently-completed 14-million dollar restoration. Nancy Nelson is spokeswoman for what’s now the Hotel Winneshiek Opera House and Conference Center. She says the opera house was used for many years and then became a place just for storage, so there was little wear and tear on the building and many of its features were still intact once the restoration began. Nelson says the two-story Victorian treasure has been restored to its former splendor and will now be used for all sorts of events, including everything from corporate retreats to weddings.The board room seats 20 guests while the opera house seats up to 300 for a reception, while the hotel portion has 31 guest rooms. For more information, call 800-998-4164 or surf to “www.hotelwinn.com” — note “winn” with two n’s.
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