The Rockport Opera House, when it was the former YMCA.


Originally known as the Rockport Town Hall, the building was designed in the Colonial Revival style by architect F.E. Gilkey and opened in 1891.  Over the years, the building has served as a town meeting space, library, theater, concert hall, and Y.M.C.A., complete with a basketball court and bowling alley.

In the 1970s, the building had deteriorated such that the Town considered selling it or tearing it down. The women of the Rockport Garden Club led the effort to save and restore the building. An outpouring of local support and a grant from the Maine Commission of the Arts and Humanities enabled the building to be revitalized as the Rockport Opera House.

In the early 1970s, the Bay Chamber Concert Series began to hold performances in the Opera House, attracting attention to the historic building from music lovers and seasonal visitors from near and far. In 1976, the Opera House was listed among the 127 homes and buildings of the Rockport Historic District placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1990s, multi-million-dollar fundraising efforts led by Opera House Chairman David Jackson and Bay Chamber Concerts founder Tom Wolf, along with a state grant and taxpayer-supported bond issue, allowed for a major renovation of the building, including the installation of new heating and cooling systems, and theatrical audio-visual equipment. The basketball court and bowling alley were replaced with meeting spaces and theatrical audio-visual equipment.

Today, the building still boasts its beautiful hand-painted canvas theater curtain. The curtain, in original Colonial Revival style, is over one-hundred years old, and has become a must-see piece of nostalgia and local history for those visiting Rockport.

The building has hosted the annual Town meeting for nearly a century, and regularly hosts town committee and other public meetings.  It is also the home venue of the Bay Chamber Concerts, as well as other musical events, theater performances, wedding receptions, conferences, and other private functions.