Baum Opera House History
In 1884 Charles Baum, a German immigrant who settled in Miamisburg in 1870, built the Baum Opera House following the success of his first business, the Baum House Hotel. Originally named the Star City Opera House, it was the first in Ohio to be built in a town the size of Miamisburg. The Opera House was said to seat 800 guests, and was one of the finest of its kind in the state at that time.
Once the cultural epicenter of Miamisburg, the Baum Opera House has played a significant role in the life and history of Miamisburg throughout its 130 years, and has thus been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first basketball game of Miamisburg High School was held here in 1916. It was also the commencement hall for the high school, and the meeting place of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics. During World War II the Baum was referred to as Junior Hall, and hosted many public dances for the community. In the 1960′s the building was known as Friendship Hall where a local dance band, the Decades, got its start. During the 1970’s the Towpath Dinner Theater enjoyed a brief reign of success occupying the Baum. Additionally, the BOH has been a bowling alley, a skating rink, and series of bars.
The last business occupying the opera house closed in 1992 when pigeons became the only residents of the building. Doomed with plans for demolition, the opera house was saved after purchase at a Sheriff’s sale in 1994. Immediately following, the Baum Opera House Association was established, and the process of renovating and restoring began. Today the Baum is almost completely restored, and is home to several organizations and arts based groups. The Baum Opera House is part of the history, tradition and heritage of Miamisburg, and will be preserved for future generations.
Historical Design Reference
The Baum Opera House is a mansard style building, and much care has been taken to restore it to its original, stately beauty. From the restoration of the exterior brick to the copper down spouts, careful planning has insured that the Baum adheres to its historical integrity. The mansard roof line, dormer windows and molded cornices add character and interest to historic downtown Miamisburg.
As you approach the Baum you will be greeted by the beautiful oak and glass custom made doors that were added to the building in 2003. Once inside, the recently painted foyer is warm and open with comfortable seating and a large brass chandelier. From the main foyer hallway you can view the “Fire Museum” with its antique fire engine and fire paraphernalia. An 1800’s buggy built by the Enterprise Carriage Company is also on exhibit for visitors to appreciate.
Just before the steps to the second floor, there is a wall of historic photos relevant to the history of Miamisburg. As you proceed up the steps (elevator is available), you enter the lovely “Ransdell Ballroom”.
The Ballroom highlights the mansard style with plastered walls and custom chair rail that surrounds the room. The molding blends beautifully with the restored hardwood floors, and wood molding found throughout the building. Rich, blue velvet stage curtains are complemented by the splendid, handmade draperies that cover the nine foot, original windows.
The “Templer Room”, located on the first floor, is warm and cozy with dimmable chandeliers and wall sconces that enhance the ambience of the room. There is also a slightly elevated stage, making it a perfect space for smaller groups requiring a more intimate atmosphere. The original floor has been completely refurbished and is absolutely stunning. The Templer Room has its own spacious foyer, complete with nine foot windows, hardwood floors and a private entrance.
The “Templer Room” also houses the “My Time Room” which is host to the memorabilia of Baum benefactor, Robert Templer. From his collection of David Winter cottages and Norman Rockwell figurines to the volumes of information on the Miamisburg community, there is much to see and study in this room. There is also a collection of flags from Mr. Templer’s time in the Korean War and from destinations he visited and where he resided.