| BHPI was contacted by Sarah Carlson, executive director of the Historic Homestake Opera House
located in Lead (Pronounced Leed), South Dakota. She indicated that
some of the actors in plays and staff have witnessed strange activity.
We spoke to a few witnesses who told us while preparing for plays, they would see people walking past the doorways leading into the theater. These witnesses knew they should be alone, and when they went to investigate found no one in the building. Other witnesses claim that when they enter the basement, they get a feeling of being watched. Some have even claimed to have witnessed shadow figures. They also claim that at times they notice movement behind them on the stage. The dressing rooms located below the stage are also active, and witnesses claim to hear sounds of voices and movement coming from this area when no one is there.
The basement of the Opera House at one time housed a swimming pool that has now been covered with concrete to make room for offices and storage. However, the pool itself remains and those who have been in this area have witnessed what looks like an apparition of someone floating as if swimming.
Through our research we learned that Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the widow of George Hearst owner of the Homestake Mine along with the mine superintendent Thomas Grier conceived of the idea of building an opera house for the hard rock miners and their families.
The Opera House was built and opened its door in August 1914. It provided plays, and entertainment for miner's families throughout the years. The Opera House was also used as a hospital when the influenza struck the Black Hills in 1918-19. There were records of deaths that took place in the Opera House during this dark time, but soon the Opera House went back to doing what it did best--provide much needed entertainment.
In April of 1984 tragedy struck when fire struck the grand structure. Many thought this was the end of the Opera House, but like a great phoenix rising from the ashes the Opera House was saved by Lead residents and is undergoing renovations.