“Maud’s Mercantile will be a bridge between the Goss’ mission of creating exceptional experiences that strengthen and inspire our community and the people in our area,” Jamie Mack, Goss Executive Director, said. “Our staff will now be even more accessible to help tell the story of the Goss while offering some fun and new gift items.”

Along with being able to find unique gift items, including some of the tried-and-true favorites of the former Dustin Sinner Fine Art store front, Maud’s Mercantile will showcase local talented artist’s art and music. Be sure to watch for special events and featured artists in the future. 

Maud’s Mercantile will also serve at the box office for the entertainment events held at the Goss Opera House. Continue to watch the progress and for an open date announcement coming soon. 

The Friends of the Goss is pleased to introduce their new board members to join the Board of Directors in 2023. Anne Hanson takes the seat of long-time Goss Opera House supporter Jan Sharp. Hanson will serve as the VP of Marketing. Dustin Sinner is a familiar face to the Goss, now serving as the VP of Friend/Fundraising. Sinner is taking over the term for original board member Jeff Orthaus. Kerry Stager joins the FOG Board as VP of Finance. Stager is the Lake Area Technical College representative. The Friends of the Goss would like to thank Jan Sharp and Jeff Orthaus for their years of supporting the mission of the Goss.

We are so excited to have another phenomenal space available for your events!

The Studio on the third floor is the hidden jewel of the Goss Opera House. With exposed original brick and hardwood floors, the rich blue accents bring The Studio to life. This space can be rented alone or in tandem with the Prairie Lakes Landing. The Studio is equipped with a state-of-the-art projector and screen. It will be a perfect space for your meeting, party, or as part of your Minimony destination. 

Contact Betsy if you would like to reserve The Studio for your event or to schedule a tour. 

With a new year comes some new, but familiar faces to the Friends of the Goss Board of Directors. 

The board is excited to welcome Prudy Calvin.  Calvin, recent recipient of the Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award will replace board member Missy Sinner whose term ended in December. Calvin brings a wealth of knowledge, not only of the history of the Goss Opera House, but Watertown’s history as a whole, as well as her experience leading other non-profits in the community.

The mission of the Friends of the Goss is to create exceptional experiences that strengthen and inspire the community of Watertown. “Our mission is driven by our board members who are all committed to enhancing quality of life in our community. The future looks bright for both the Goss and our community,” said Executive Director Jamie Mack.

The board also elected new officers at its January meeting. Milt Carter – Past President, Kristen Henderson – President, Michael Makens – Vice President of Finance, and Brad Johnson – Vice President of Friend and Fundraising.

A “Grand” Gift

A 1,200-pound community Christmas present arrived Thursday at the Goss Opera House in the form of a concert grand piano. A crew from Dial-a-Move relocated the 1927 Knabe piano from Steve Misener’s shop in Stockholm to the stage in the Reliabank Theater. The piano has a long history in Watertown and the Friends of the Goss Opera House commissioned Misener to do a complete restoration about 10 months ago. The piano was owned by Leon and Vernola Jelinek, a concert pianist who lived in Watertown during his later years. The Watertown School District bought the piano from the Jelinek estate in 1965 and sold it in 2005 when it was located at Lake Area Technical College. The restoration cost about $16,000 and was funded by a generous grant from the Watertown Area Community Foundation and a small number of private donors. The piano will permanently reside on the stage at the Goss. An existing baby grand piano that was on the stage was moved to the third floor Prairie Lakes landing.

South Dakota architecture firms captured one American Institute of Architecture (AIA) South Dakota Honor Award, two Merit Awards and one People’s Choice Award during AIA South Dakota’s recent annual conference………(other awards were listed here)….…..AIA South Dakota President Tom Hurlbert, AIA, of CO-OP Architecture, issued one President’s Award to Friends of the Goss Opera House, a nonprofit organization that helped restore and helps maintain the historic Goss Opera House, a circa-1889 venue in Watertown, South Dakota.

Restored Splendor

Historic 1880s Opera House Transformed in Watertown, South Dakota

by Kathy Ziprik, owner, Ziprik Consulting

When the curtain rose again at the historic Goss Opera House in 2020, the structure had been transformed.  Thanks to a five-million-dollar renovation, every inch of the 37,000-sq.ft. building space was refurbished, including eye-catching interior stair systems.

Situated in downtown Watertown, South Dakota, the Goss Opera House was brought back to life after a nearly 70-year hiatus.  The non-profit group, Friends of the Goss Opera House, purchased the building in December 2018.  They then turned their attention to transforming the structure back to its original 1889 grandeur.


“Everything from the roof down to the flooring was updated,” said Jamie Mack, executive director with Friends of the Goss Opera House, Inc.  “We had tremendous local support.  The hard work of many people transformed the Goss back into a vibrant entertainment center.”

A highlight of the opera hall itself is the new Linear Collection stainless steel cable and tube rail system surrounding the stage and balcony areas.  Interior designer Lori Storley chose products from L.J. Smith® Stair Systems to add a modern touch to the restoration.

“We focused on creating a historically sensitive renovation,” said Storley, principal designer with HomeTown Building Center, Watertown.  “This wasn’t a formal restoration.  Instead, we selected products that are respectful of the past and invoke historic elements, while still being modern.  The cable rail perfectly meets that task.  It’s the ideal product to allow great vision to the stage.  It also adds the element of safety we need and has the modern edge we desired.”

According to Mack, the cable railings were the last element to be added to the opera hall.  “I believe the designers picked the perfect system from L.J. Smith to finish off the balcony and stairs on the side of the stage,” said Mack.  “The cable system is just the right combination of elegance and functionality.”


Before entering the opera hall itself, guests stroll through a gracefully restored lobby area.  A newly installed wood and iron stairway system draws immediate attention.  It’s now called the Grand Staircase.

“The classic style of the L.J. Smith wood box newel and handrail complement the warm wood tones throughout the building,” said Storley.  “At the same time, the iron balusters add a nice, modern element to the design.  This creates a terrific balance.  The stair system looks substantial but not too heavy within the space.”  The decorative newel and graceful volute of the main lobby Grand Staircase invite guests upstairs to explore the building.  A second and third floor stair system adds detail and interest to the space, including box newels and metal balusters with knuckles.

“I’ve used L.J. Smith products many times over the years in other projects,” said Storley.  “The quality of the products and the wide variety of styles make it a great resource for designing stair systems.”

Helping make the magical transformation take place during the early stages for the Goss Opera House renovation was the team at Building Products Inc. (BPI), Watertown.

“We owe so much to the BPI team and their generosity,” said Mack.  “Tim Qualm from BPI did all the measuring, showed us samples of L.J. Smith products, and then did the ordering.  The cable system in the opera house was paid for out of our budget.  Other than that, all the stair system parts were donated by the owners of BPI, who have their corporate office here in Watertown.


“This was such an outstanding community project.  Gray Construction, Watertown, who installed the stairway systems and did so much work on this restoration, donated a portion of their fees to help us get this massive job completed in less than two years.  The quality of their work, under a very tight deadline, is commendable,” Mack continued.

Now open to the public for musicals, concerts, and plays, the Goss Opera House has helped reinvigorate Watertown’s business area.  “We’re seeing more and more interest in bookings and rentals of our facility following the renovation,” said Mack.  “There’s stronger traffic through the downtown area.  As a result, our attendance numbers continue to rise.

“We constantly hear from members of our community about how impressed they are with the renovation.  I’m receiving very specific comments about the stair systems.  People believe the cable system in the opera house is very classy, and they appreciate how it doesn’t distract from the entertainment on stage.  In the lobby, the grand staircase is now the place to be seen and photographed.  That stairway is the finishing touch on a stunning renovation.”

New Goss Staff

Growth is a wonderful thing! The Goss Opera House has seen exponential growth of visitors, private rentals, and programming over the past year. As the Goss has grown, so has the team that makes it all possible. Kathryn Jurrens and Betsy Fjelland joined Jamie Mack in the Goss administrative staff in fall of 2021. Together they bring backgrounds of event planning, fundraising, customer service, and an excitement for the future of the Goss Opera House. Betsy is looking forward to helping you plan your upcoming personal or corporate events. Kathryn is thrilled to be partnering with organizations and individuals in the community to bring in art, cultural, and educational programming.  Feel free to contact them for a tour or with any questions about events at the Goss.

The new roof attached two years ago to Downtown Watertown’s historic Goss Opera House has earned a first-place recognition.

The Structural Insulated Panel Association recognized the quality of the Goss’ new roof with a top award in its Renovation category at the association’s Building Excellence Awards ceremony last week in Orlando, Fla., according to a press release.

The new $855,000 roof was installed in Summer 2019. Incorporating clear spanning roof trusses and structural insulated roof panels manufactured by Watertown firm and Structural Insulated Panel Association member Enercept, the new roof replaced a structurally deficient roof. By using Enercept’s panels, crews from Hasslen Construction of Ortonville, Minn., were able to complete the roof project more quickly.

Originally expected to take approximately three to four months, the roof renovation project wrapped up in just under three months.

The news release claimed the Goss’ incorporation of the panels was the answer to many of this building’s issues. The release also noted the new roof will protect the 131-year-old iconic building and extend its life for another 100 years.

The Goss roof renovation was part of a $4.75 million renovation project for the entire building.

By Dan Crisler

Walk into downtown Watertown’s Goss Opera House these days and you’ll feel like you stepped back in time.

After more than a year of reconstruction and renovation totaling approximately $5 million, the 130-year-old iconic building originally built by Charles Goss has been restored to its former glory.

Although there are still some odds and ends to be done, the restoration has turned a building that had seen better days to once again being a crown jewel in the heart of downtown Watertown.

With a delayed grand opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enough of the Goss has been completed that it held its first concert — preformed by local band Greg Hanson and The Backroads — in the restored opera hall, known as the Reliabank Theater, Friday night.

“I would say our side of the building is 99.9% complete,” Goss Opera House Executive Director Missy Sinner said this week. “We have worked and are working as many hours as we possibly can and working as hard as we can.”

For most of the last year, the Goss restoration looked very much like a work in progress. The nonprofit organization Friends of the Goss began the restoration with the help of donations after having purchased the building on Dec. 31, 2018.

With extensive construction work dating back to at least last summer, Sinner said she felt the building’s restoration achieved full realization last month.

“I would say probably about one month ago I felt like the building was almost done,” she said. “There were finishing touches and backordered items that would come in one at time. As they came in, I would find myself thinking, ‘Wow, that room looks really great!’ or ‘That looks finished.’”

The Goss’ full historic restoration makes it difficult, and perhaps impossible, to pinpoint one particular element that stands out.

But if a single room perhaps captures the entire vision of the Goss’ turn-of-the-century elegance, it’s perhaps the opera hall highlighted by a replica 19th century chandelier.

At the same time, Sinner and the Friends of the Goss Board of Directors made smart concessions to modernity within the opera hall with new stage lighting and a top-of-the-line sound system in the hall. Those concessions extend throughout the building, such as automatic faucets in the bathrooms and motion-sensing lights, to allow for energy efficiency and enhance the elegant atmosphere.

“We headed toward a historical flair on anything we chose,” Sinner said. “But we definitely wanted to integrate technology into the building.”

Sinner said crews are still waiting on three pieces of furniture for the bride’s room on the Goss’ second level, as well as radiant heat panels. Delivery has been delayed due to the pandemic.

“Everything else is done so we decided to move forward on the Goss side,” she said.

Sinner said about 25 concerts and performances have been booked. She said the Goss plans to sell season tickets for the fall through spring months. Sinner said the opera hall will be open in the summer months for reservations such as weddings and other social events.

A combined grand opening between the Goss Opera House and its anchor restaurant, Mavericks Steaks and Cocktails, will be Sept. 25. The grand opening will feature free tours of the Goss and a performance from the NashVegas All Stars band.

Mavericks makes progress

As renovations on the Goss Opera House wrap up, its main tenant, Mavericks, is not too far behind.

According to Mavericks General Manager Kyle Lalim, the opening of the anticipated restaurant and lounge has been slightly delayed due to logistics exacerbated by the pandemic.

As crews continue to renovate the space and get other equipment installed, Lalim said that process should wrap up in the next week or so.

“The end is getting near so that’s a great thing,” he said. “New restaurant openings always have that high level of anticipation. When you couple a new restaurant that happens to be an anchor tenant in the Goss Opera House with what the Friends of the Goss have been able to accomplish, it just amplifies that excitement for our opening. We just want to make sure that when we do open our doors, we can deliver a level of service that Mavericks has been known for.”

At this point, the soft opening date is fluid. Lalim said it will be announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page — facebook.com/MavericksWatertownSD. It’s possible the restaurant could open in late August or early September.

Mavericks also has locations in Aberdeen, Deadwood and St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Soon to follow are the implementation of restaurant operations. That includes hiring and training staff set to be led by two experienced kitchen managers. Ben Richardson will be the head kitchen manager and Robert Johnson will be the assistant kitchen manager.

“Both of those guys have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in both the restaurant and catering industries,” Lalim said, adding the two men have more than a dozen years of kitchen experience across the nation.

Lalim said Richardson and Johnson will be valuable in leading and guiding staff to prepare Mavericks’ fresh menu items.

“Mavericks makes everything homemade,” Lalim said. “We make our own croutons and salad dressings. We cut our own steaks and grind our own burgers. These guys are just a great fit to our team and fit our business model perfectly.”

Lalim said Mavericks management and ownership want the Watertown branch to have a soft opening prior to the combined grand opening with the Goss. The soft opening will include appreciation events and celebrations with Mavericks employees, contractors and associated family members.

Mavericks will operate its main restaurant on the Goss’ first floor and a second-floor kitchen to serve guests attending Goss opera hall events and associated meeting rooms.