Clio Logo

Located in Fort Payne, DeKalb County, AL, the Fort Payne Opera House was built during the industrial boom in 1889. This opera house is known as the great community network to connect the community through art and entertainment. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the National Register of 19th Century Theaters in America. Today, the Fort Payne Opera House is the only one which is still in used in the State of Alabama for hosting live theatrical events. After the restoration, the Fort Payne Opera House become a cultural center of DeKalb County as well as new society members and visitors.


  • Old Opera House
  • Opera House Program from 1900
  • Fort Payne Opera House in present date
  • Fort Payne Opera House's Historical Marker

Following the history of Economic Development and Employment at Fort Payne, DeKalb County, AL, in the 1880s, the discovery of coat and iron ore initiated Fort Payne's industrialization. From the dirty street and horse a buggy was a main transportation, Fort Payne stepped up to the "boom" times with the founding of the Fort Payne Coal and Iron Company by wealthy New England speculators in 1889. Therefore, the investments in Port Payne increased quickly and became a phenomena that foster more and more investors. During this time, based on the economic growth, town leaders brought electricity to the town and the Fort Payne Opera House was built in 1889.  

In the early 1900s, the Fort Payne Opera House was used for concerts and play as well as served as meeting place. After that, in the 1920s, this Opera House became a movie theater and became a warehouse afterward. The architectural design of the Fort Payne Opera House was three-story brick building located in Gault Avenue. In 1969, the Fort Payne Opera downgraded, it fell on bad time and to be completely refurbished. 

Currently, the historic Fort Payne Opera House is 124 years old and has a completely restoration.  This is still in used today as the cultural center of the community. Beside, the local high schools uses it to host plays, concerts and many activities and events.  

Reid, Tim. "The Historic Fort Payne Opera House Is Still a Big Attraction." Huntsville News. N.p., 22 May 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. . Schmidt, Greg. "Fort Payne." Encyclopedia of Alabama. N.p., 27 July 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. .