Fairmont Opera House

214 East Blue Earth Ave.
Fairmont, MN


Builder: Marr & Colton 1927
Manuals: 2 ?
Ranks: 5
Action: Electro-pneumatic


Notes from Jay Engquist:
Fairmont, Minnesota’s historic Opera House was built in 1900 and originally contained 900 seats. By 1927, a new 1,000 pipe organ was installed. The 1927 opening introduced the theater pipe organ (a 5-rank instrument built by Marr and Colton), complete with sound effects such as drums, a xylophone, car horns, horses' hoof beats, cymbals, and other novelties. The theater was used exclusively as a movie house between the 1940’s and 1980. Four local Fairmont professionals (including Dr. Robert Arneson and Howard Engquist) purchased the old theater in the early 1980’s to save it from being razed. Over the intervening years the theater has been completely restored, the building added to national archive protection status, and the original pipe organ found (it had been sold [sequentially] to four different churches from Iowa to Texas) and brought back to Fairmont, where it awaits a restoration (the parts and console stored in various places around the building). Unfortunately, air conditioning ducts were run through the chamber, so re-installation is not likely.