Press Release

Friends of the Goss finalize purchase of historic buildings

The Friends of the Goss Opera House non-profit foundation has completed the purchase of Watertown’s historic downtown theater. 

Since announcing its intention to purchase the historic downtown landmark earlier this Fall, the Friends of the Goss board has been busy developing a business plan and fundraising strategy to support the revitalization of the buildings.

“The foundation has the goal of making the Goss Opera House buildings a major South Dakota attraction,” said Foundation Board President Milt Carter.  

The Goss Opera House at the southeast corner of Kemp Avenue and Maple Street, first opened in 1889 and boasts a 450-seat theater on its second and third floor. Throughout its nearly 130-year existence, the Goss has hosted internationally recognized exhibits, theatrical, and musical performances. Beyond being a staple of the Watertown community, the Goss Opera House is one of only a few historic theaters of its kind left in the country. 

“We want the Goss to once again be the cornerstone of our community and our downtown,” said foundation board member and Watertown Area Community Foundation appointee Kristen Henderson. “The community has been very supportive along this journey and we look forward to including the community more and more as we work to develop plans to revitalize the Goss. Once our plans have been firmed up a bit further, we’ll have multiple ways for the community to stay informed of our progress as well as opportunities to show their support,” she said. 

The purchase was made possible by donations from Milt and Chris Carter, the Watertown Area Community Foundation, the Watertown Development Company, David Johnson, and Reliabank.

With the building purchase complete, the board is now ready to issue a request for proposal to restaurants with interest in leasing space on the main floor of the theater building. The board has also been busy finalizing plans for the necessary roof repairs to be completed in the Fall of 2019. 

“We want to move as quickly as possible to set our plans in motion.” Carter said. “A revitalized Goss Opera House is critical to a thriving Downtown Watertown.”