South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Chester City Hall and Opera House, Chester County (W. End & Columbia Sts., Chester)
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Facade Left Oblique Right Elevation Detail of

Built in 1890-91 by Columbia architect, Frank Munson, the Chester City Hall and Opera House has a long history of cultural and civic activity. The building’s extensive and elaborate use of brick and principal construction material enhances its massive Romanesque Revival style. The fašade is arranged in three distinct phases. The tower at left dominates the gabled central section which in turn dominates the less ornate section on the right. Originally all three entrances of the fašade were recessed, Roman arches with ornate keystones and voussoirs formed by one stretcher/one header design. A stringcourse between the first two floors has a foliated design. Since 1891, this building has been the hub of Chester’s political activity. The town’s administrative offices have been located here since the building’s construction. The city jail and fire department had also used the building before moving to new facilities. The third floor was originally designed for use as an Opera House complete with gallery, box seats, dress circle and pit seats. The Opera House was also the scene of many community festivities such as talent shows, graduation exercises, recitals and concerts. When the interior was renovated following the 1929 fire, the Opera House was not restored. The fire also destroyed the original spire tower which contained a four-faced clock. Listed in the National Register March 30, 1973.

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