About the Homer Opera House
A 1901 fire in downtown Homer left the building site available. Built in 1902, the Jurgensmeyer building was the tallest structure in Champaign County at the time. The Opera House was on the second floor and a department store was on the first floor. Smaller spaces were rented to small businesses. Within a few years the basement became a bowling alley. Among the various purposes over the years the building has housed • a bank • the Homer High School (until 1928) • a basketball gym • vaudeville and touring productions • Danville and Champaign High School presentations • Homer High graduations • Champaign Youth Orchestra • Homer High plays • a local grocery store 1952-1971, then the building was sold to the Village of Homer for $10 • the Homer city building until 2005 • city offices • police offices • the Homer library • boy scouts and girl scouts • a teacher’s apartment • and Parkland College productions on stage 1977-1991.
With renovation in progress, the Homer Opera House, like a phoenix, rises again to begin a new life.
The Creative Dramatics Workshop
A community theatre group in east central Illinois led by founder Robert Picklesimer, The Creative Dramatics Workshop brings quality theatre to area residents. With a primary focus on growth and training of young people in theatre arts, those involved include parents of participants – some of them adults who started as young company members themselves and choose to continue their involvement on stage and behind the scenes.
The group has moved from the little theater in Sidney, Illinois, which was demolished in 2014, to the nearby Homer Opera House. With some modest contributions the group purchased the Homer Opera House in July, 2015 and has been readying the building for productions and special events.