The Metropolitan Opera House was built in 1890 as the premiere entertainment venue in the region. Knowing full well that all the guests, entertainers, and sets would come via train, the Great Northern Railroad’s James J. Hill donated the land for the project, and a local investment group put up $91,000 to construct the building in order to make Grand Forks the destination city of its time. Considered the “finest opera house between Minneapolis and Seattle,” and beginning with its debut performance of Martha by the nationally renown Emma Abbott, the Opera House provided live opera, symphony, plays, stage acts, and motion pictures (after 1907) for nearly 50 years to the Grand Forks community.

A bowling alley replaced the music hall in the 1930’s, and the building began to fall to disrepair. While the Opera House survived the 1997 Red River Valley Flood, years of neglect and flooding caused damage the owners could not afford to fix. The new owners have since returned the Opera House to its past grandeur and usefulness to the community. The exterior restoration brought back the lost architectural elements that make the building the showpiece of the Richardsonian Romanesque style it once was, and the interior renovation has turned the Opera House into luxury apartments unlike any others in North Dakota.