The Warren Cultural Center is a shining example of what thoughtful building restoration can accomplish. Though not yet complete, visitors will still find this a lovely facility blending old and new and eventually providing a solid venue for entertainment, dining and lodging.
The center is comprised of three side-by-side buildings on the Greenfield Public Square. The opera house, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, is the main attraction. The renovated lobby doubles as art gallery space and features white walls, high ceilings and beautifully refinished wooden floors. Guests move up a wide staircase to the soaring domed auditorium. Throughout, the original wall stenciling and colors have been painstakingly re-created.
Local merchant E.E. Warren built the opera house in 1896, and his family apartment within the building is also being restored to match the original as closely as possible. There's even a turret with windows looking out across the square. A bistro restaurant planned for the basement should open in 2013. The center’s calendar of events is still somewhat sparse, but this promises to be an interesting performing arts destination when up and running.