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Dalton Opera House, Creamery refurbished

Tom Hintgen/FOCUS Greg Peterson, with help from his wife DeeDee, is renovating the Opera House and Old Creamery buildings in Dalton. In the future, they want the Opera House to be used for concerts, plays, dances, receptions and other events.

Greg and DeeDee Peterson of rural Underwood are currently refurbishing the Dalton Opera House and Old Creamery buildings.

The Opera House was the hot spot in Dalton in the early 1900s.

"It was the site of dances, plays, roller skating, basketball, target practice, Santa movies, church services, 4-H events, political rallies and temperance meetings," said Greg. "Now, after 110 years, we're giving the Opera House a facelift."

In the future, the Opera House will be used for concerts, plays, dances, receptions, reunions and other events.

DeeDee's son, Paul, will be getting married at the restored Opera House in October, probably the first wedding ever in that location.

"Right now we're sanding and refinishing the floor," said Greg. "Later, the stage will be painted, the front doors will be red and we'll do more work on the new porch. Eventually some bathroom facilities and lofts will be added."

In recent years the Opera House has been used for sales of second hand items. It was people's fond memories of the place that led Greg and DeeDee to improve the property. They're looking for old photos, inside and out, of the Opera House activities. They're also looking for the old red Lutheran Book of Worship hymnals.

The Old Creamery, when fully retrofitted, will be a place to sell antiques and recycled architectural products such as antique windows and doors and used, but good, building materials such as cabinet doors.

The Petersons purchased the buildings several years ago from the Dalton Creamery Association. Feed was sold at the Opera House in recent years.

At their hobby farm near Underwood, the Petersons have a small church. Greg transported a summer kitchen from a pioneer log farmhouse to the farm. He needed to extend the building in order to support a steeple that he constructed. Colored glass for the church came from leftovers at the Regional Treatment Center in Fergus Falls.

The ceiling of the church includes Norwegian rosemaling, which Greg found in Glenwood. Rosemaling will also be used for the ceiling at the Opera House in Dalton. A new sign for the Opera House was designed by Scott Gunvaldson of Fergus Falls.

Greg is a member of the Otter Tail County Historical Society board of directors and is an Aurdal Township supervisor. He sees the importance of history preservation in Otter Tail County.

He wholeheartedly supports all programs of the historical society and personally loves to turn something old into a new entity. He's also a member of Sons of Norway, the Dalton Thresher Association and attends Tordenskjold Lutheran Church.

He and DeeDee have five adult children who support their building refurbishing efforts in Dalton and other historical endeavors.