A leader in the civic and cultural life of the City of Hudson and the Hudson Valley
In 1992, concerned citizens came together to save the Hudson Opera House, New York State’s oldest surviving theater. Built in 1855, the building was designed by local architect Peter Avery. For more than a century, it housed various civic offices, including the Post Office and Police Station, and was home to the Franklin Library and the First National Bank of Hudson.
Its showpiece was and still is a magnificent auditorium on the second floor, which was used for everything from theatrical presentations to cotillions and poultry shows. Frederic Church and Sanford Gifford showed their paintings here, Bret Harte read his poems, and Henry Ward Beecher gave a rousing abolitionist lecture. Susan B. Anthony visited at least twice, the first time lecturing about abolishing slavery, and the second time to rally support for women’s suffrage. In 1914, Teddy Roosevelt regaled a crowd with his adventures in Africa.
Shortly after City Hall moved further up Warren Street in 1962, the building was sold to an out-of-town developer. For nearly thirty years it sat vacant, decaying and accumulating debris. During this time, lower Warren Street was virtually abandoned and considered by many to be a lost cause. Since that time, the Hudson Opera House has invested nearly $3 million to stabilize, upgrade and restore the exterior, basement and main floor of the building. As a result of these essential efforts, the Hudson Opera House now serves the community with a year-round program of cultural and educational events and has been a catalyst for the regeneration of downtown Hudson.
Upcoming improvements will lay the ground work for the final phase of our preservation program, which is the rehabilitation of the main performance hall and backstage spaces into a flexible 300-seat theater.