The site of New York State’s oldest surviving theater, the Hudson Opera House has completed the final phase of a major restoration project begun in April of 2016. The re-opening of the historic theater is accompanied by a name change: the Hudson Opera House will be renamed Henry Hudson Hall.
In honoring the city’s historic namesake, Henry Hudson, the new name marks a significant evolution for the iconic venue, which, from its founding in 1855 until the building was abandoned in 1962, has witnessed some of the most exciting cultural, social and political events of the day. Since 1992, when the building was rescued from destruction, it has played a pivotal role in the cultural and economic advancement of the region.
Completed ahead of schedule, renovations and improvements of Henry Hudson Hall’s facilities were funded by an $8.5 million campaign, of which $7.5 million has been secured with lead gifts from the Board of Directors; public support from Empire State Development, New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Council on the Arts; and private funds from foundations and individuals, including major gifts from the Educational Foundation of America and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also provided investment through its Community Facilities Program, secured with assistance from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and in partnership with Kinderhook Bank, which aims to improve rural community infrastructure and quality of life.
Renovations to the second-floor performance hall include a flexible 300-seat theater, new heating, ventilation and cooling systems, high-end performance equipment and extensive rehabilitation of the mezzanine, stage and support spaces. Installation of structural steel and a new basement slab help to support the structure, while asbestos and lead abatement, installation of an elevator, and new electrical and fire systems have upgraded the building’s safety and accessibility. The restoration and improvements were overseen by Preservation Architecture, and carried out under the great care of Consigli Construction NY.
Photo: Proscenium stage before (left) and restoration in process (right); photo, courtesy of Henry Hudson Hall.