Bastrop merchants P. Otto Elzner and S.D. Green agreed to build the Opera House in 1889 at a reported cost of $15,000. At the rear of Elzner’s store just off Main Street sat an old stable, and construction of the Bastrop Opera House began at this site. Reproducing the appearance of the Opera House in Taylor, 35 miles to the north, construction went forward during the spring and summer of 1889. The brick structure included large fireplaces in the east and west walls to provide heat for the winter theater patrons. The first public event was held on October 1, 1889–a military ball and supper attracting over 60 couples.
In 1909, Elzner became sole owner of the property but went bankrupt soon afterward and relinquished ownership of the Opera House. Some time after 1910, the Opera House was converted to a motion picture theater which remained in operation through World War II, when GI’s from nearby Camp Swift swarmed the streets of Bastrop and the theater.
By the late fifties and early sixties, the theater became a center for teenagers, known as the Teen Tower — scene of dances, parties and related activities. With the threat of a sheriff’s sale from unpaid taxes, a non-profit organization, Bastrop Opera House, Inc., was chartered in 1979. The non-profit corporation took possession of the building and launched a program of historic restoration with professional guidance and volunteer fundraising and labor. The building has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and the Texas Historical Commission for its significance in Texas history.
Bastrop Opera House Presenting Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’s Theatre.