MARYSVILLE — Someone walking into the historic Marysville Opera House might not even notice the black pipe along the ceiling, near the ornate trim and original wooden ticket booth that greets visitors in the lobby.
The city installed a sprinkler system in January, just in time for the building to open again after a year-long shutdown due to the pandemic. Now the 1911 building has sprinklers on every floor, including in the basement and storage spaces.
The city purchased the building at 1225 Third St. almost five years ago and has since renovated the landmark. The sprinkler system is one of the last projects, though more work is expected as the century-old building continues to age.
The city installed the system to protect the building and to keep firefighters and others safe, Marysville Fire Marshal Tom Maloney said.
If there is a fire, usually only one or two sprinklers go off to control the flames, he said. That way firefighters have little to extinguish once they arrive.
“So really all the sprinkler head does is it’s designed to keep the fire in check until the fire department can come and take care of the problem,” Maloney said.
The new safety features cost about $82,000 and came from the city’s general fund. Previously, the building had only a fire alarm. No open flames are allowed inside.
Over the years the opera house has served as a movie theater, teenage dance club, roller rink, music venue and even a shooting range. Signs of bullet holes still mark some of the basement walls, said Dave Hall, assistant director of Parks, Culture and Recreation.
The opera house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It’s the only building in Marysville on the list.
The first wedding there in a year took place at the end of February. The city also is hosting a speaker series that began Tuesday and ends in May.
“In 2019, the last normal year, we had 56 rentals,” Hall said.
While the building can be rented out now, only a limited number of people can be inside at once, according to state guidelines.
Hall is looking forward to opening again.
“We all feel this is really just a gem,” he said. “It’s nice to let people come in and enjoy it.”