You could trek all the way to Chicago to enjoy a night out at the theater. Or instead, you can use the time you’d save fighting traffic on the expressway or sitting on a Metra train heading into the city to enjoy drinks and a nice dinner before catching a performance at the Sandwich Opera House.

Constructed in 1878, the building originally housed city government offices on the first floor. The Opera House took residence on the second floor showcasing traveling troupes, recitals and community activities. By World War II, many of the activities held at the Opera House took place at other facilities and the functions of city government, including the police and fire departments, were moved to separate facilities.

After years of sitting dormant, the Sandwich Opera House’s second act took place in the 1980s when the community rallied for the building to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They also sought extensive restorations to bring the building back to its original glory. Wall and ceiling stenciling was reproduced. New lighting and sound equipment were integrated into the historic design of the theater. The project also included an addition to house dressing rooms, a theatre workshop and storage.

By 1986 the Sandwich Opera House re-opened as a beloved community treasure. Today the Sandwich Opera House continues to serve as a hub for fine arts in the Fox Valley. Events range from community theatre and recitals to musical acts performing everything from country to classical music.

Check out this historic gem for yourself during one of the Sandwich Opera House’s upcoming events:

Listen Local Fridays presents Truman’s Ridge at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. Tickets for this local music lovers’ series are just $5.Are you a local musician looking to share your voice and talents with the community? For your band to be added to the list Call 815-786-2555 or email: info@sandwichoperahouse.com Get into the Halloween spirit during Family Day Paranormal Fun from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Kids ages 7 to 15 can meet real ghost hunters, see hands-on equipment demonstrations and try their hand at kid-friendly investigations. Adults can watch the Midwest Ghost Society perform an investigation at the Sandwich Opera House to conjure up the spirits that linger in the building during Adult Paranormal Investigations from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26. Dancing Like the Stars competition will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. Performer Doug Church will pay tribute to Elvis Presley during the Voice of Elvis at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. Matt Ball, aka the Boogie Woogie Kid, will bring back swing music and songs from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s when he performs at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. The Indian Valley Community Band will perform its free annual winter concert on Sunday, Nov. 24. Food or financial donations are requested to support the Franklin Mall Project. Kick off the holiday season when the Allegro Ballet of Oswego presents The Nutcracker at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

The Sandwich Opera House is located at 140 E. Railroad St. in Sandwich. For more information, call (815) 786-2555 or visit www.sandwichoperahouse.org.