Charles Goss moved to Watertown in the late 19th century and built a large store on the corner of Kemp Avenue and Maple Street. When that building was destroyed by a fire in April 1888, Mr. Goss immediately set about replacing it with the building we know and love today.
The doors of the building were opened once again in the spring of 1889, and the Goss became a bustling hub of community activity. Audiences filled seats for music and theater productions as well as community events. Box seats and a beautiful serpentine balcony, still intact today, overlooked a magnificent stage with superb acoustics.
The vibrant space slowly went dark after the Depression in the 1930s, and by the late 1950s, it became a largely forgotten part of our history.
A major renovation project began in 2008 to restore the Goss theater to prominence. On Dec. 31, 2018, the newly formed Friends of the Goss Opera House, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, purchased the building with the intent of making the Goss a bustling hub of community activity once again.
Because of the vision of Charles Goss and the commitment of our community, the Goss Opera House remains the heart of downtown Watertown.
“The Goss Opera House is a gem, not only for Watertown but for South Dakota and the Upper Midwest. The acoustics of the Goss are superb, which is evident to both the performers and the listeners. You can manufacture the acoustics of a space to a point, but there needs to be a bit of magic in order for it to sound truly great – which happens in Watertown.”
SD SYMPHONY CONDUCTOR DELTA DAVID GIER
The Friends of the Goss Opera House are committed to restoring and sustaining Watertown’s last remaining opera house; providing our community with rich entertainment and beautiful event space in an authentic historic building.