For decades, The Pink House at 109 Spruce Street in Central City was a hotspot of summer entertainment and relaxation for cast members and production crew alike. As its ownership has changed hands throughout the years, The Pink House remains a place central to the opera’s presence in the town and a historical reminder of the golden years.
2020 Virtual Tour of The Pink House, hosted by Central City Opera Director of Historic Properties Eric Chinn
Built by English-born Nathan Sears around 1870, The Pink House is an example of a “Gable L” cottage with Barge Board gingerbread trim. In Welsh miner tradition, the house has two front doors: the public entrance and the “Bride Door.” Welsh custom decreed that the newly wed husband carry his bride through the Bride Door on their wedding night. The only other time she went through that door was on the day of her funeral when she was in a casket.
The Pink House, Central City, CO
A stonemason and contractor, Nathan Sears married Elizabeth Sears in 1872 and the couple had three children, Henry James, Halbert Nathan and Charlotte Elizabeth. Throughout the 1880s, he was essential in the growth of Central City, laying a new foundation for an air compressor and steam boiler at the Bates Hunter Mine, which allowed the shaft to be dug to a depth of 800 feet. The mine ultimately produced over 200,000 ounces of gold, with veins extending 22 acres.1 As of 2021, gold trades for $1,908.30 an ounce, meaning that $381 million worth of gold was extracted thanks to Nathan Sears’ infrastructure. Sears also repaired the masonry of the east wall of the Henderson Building on Pine Street in 1885, which is now owned by Central City Opera and serves as our medical building.
The Bates Hunter Mine, Central City, CO
Around the turn of the century, the house was sold to Mary and William McGlone. On a night in 1932, they attended the opening performance of Camille at the Central City Opera House and like thousands to follow, were hooked on the magic that came out of the “Theatre of Dreams.” Bill McGlone became the Opera’s attorney for 30 years and served on the board of directors. Mary delighted in socializing with cast members throughout the festival season and The Pink House gained a reputation as a mecca for parties and entertainment.
William McGlone, left, and Thomas Jeffers - May 1970
The Pink House, September 2020
Mrs. M. Neusteter, left & Mrs. William McGlone; June 1952
In 1980 they sold the home to one John Moriarty, who along with developing Central City Opera’s renowned training program for young artists, was Artistic Director from 1982 to 2012. After an illustrious career, he graciously donated The Pink House to the Opera.
John Moriarty in his garden at The Pink House
Today, The Pink House continues to be a summer home to the opera stars of the present and future and is one of the crown jewels of Central City Opera’s historic property preservation program.