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Renovations underway at local opera house constructed in the lat - KOAM TV 7

Renovations underway at local opera house constructed in the late 1800s

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McBride's Antiques sits next to where the Sassy Spoon once stood, destroyed by a fire last July.

Now that the fire damage has been mostly repaired, the owner is working to restore the building, constructed in 1878 as an opera house.

"After the fire and I knew the building was okay, I became more protective of her if that makes sense, and even more determined to finish what I'd started," owner Keith McBride said.

Renovations so far include bringing the wiring up to code and installing new chandeliers.

"We just put them exactly where the lighting was before, which I like because it gives you the effect of what the lighting would have been like in 1878," McBride said.

He is also collecting historical artifacts from that time period, such as a pump organ purchased in 1905 that was previously kept at The Olivia Apartments in Joplin.

"It's got that Victorian flare," McBride said. "I think that's something like what would have been up here originally."

There are also rumors that the organ is haunted, sometimes heard playing by itself.

"I would say that this building is very haunted," Lisa Livingston-Martin said.

Livingston-Martin with Paranormal Science Lab gives haunted tours of the opera house. All proceeds go towards funding the renovation work.

"When you come out, you get an education on the history of the location and ghost stories and you help preserve the sites," she said.

Former owner Sue Vandergriff says preserving the history of Carthage is important to the community.

"They don't build anything like this anymore," Vandergriff said. "When people visit Carthage, they talk about the buildings and then they talk about the homes because you don't see towns that look like we look."

"It's important to me," McBride said. "It's like my own legacy in a way of adding back to Carthage."

A legacy he hopes will allow the opera house building to see another 136 years if not more.

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