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Opera House Square

Opera House Square opened in 1968 featuring the 300-seat Opera House as well as the Gaslight Restaurant, Sweet Shop and General Store. Robert and Peter Freed searched across the country for antique pieces and decorations to be used in the Victorian-style town square in an effort to look as authentic as possible. Marble-top tables in the restaurant were from turn of the century European coffee shop. In the Sweet Shop were wire-back chairs from a chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania with marble tables and a soda fountain from a demolished ice cream shop on West South Temple in Salt Lake City. Stained glass windows were from old churches in the Salt Lake area. The General Store was decorated with pieces from an old barn in Oakley, Utah. Bronze lighting fixtures came from the old Metropolitan Club in New York City. Inside the Opera House, the box office was a transformed elevator cage from the old Healy Hotel in Ogden. The marble and molded metal ceiling in the lobby also came from the Healy. The chandelier in the lobby once hung in a mansion on 5th Avenue in New York City and the large chandelier in the theater was from the old Salt Lake Theatre. Seats came from many different old theaters including one in Wyoming.

The Opera House opened on 30 May 1968 with a 19th century melodrama entitled Poor Of New York. The small venue became a popular place for theater on the Wasatch Front and generally featured three different productions for about a month at a time each season. In the ’80s, Lagoon began leasing out the Opera House to outside production companies and was closed to guests after the 1989 season.

The Gaslight Restaurant was on the east end with the Sweet Shop in the middle and the General Store at the west end of the square. A picnic terrace, alternately known as Gaslight Gardens and Gaslight Terrace, was built in 1971 just south of the Opera House. It was later remodeled or replaced at some point and eventually torn down for OdySea , which opened there in 2008. In 1996, the west portion was converted into a Subway restaurant and the Gaslight Restaurant became Arby’s in 2001.

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