On last Saturday Feb. 24, the Denmark opera house was dedicated with a program in the Danish language consisting of songs and recitations and speeches. Two foreign speakers failed to arrive so there was nothing but local talent, the preacher of the Danish Lutheran church made the principal speech and delivered a fairly good talk, he managed, preacher like, to tell a story to the effect that the church would likely be ashamed of itself to stand next to the big hall, the opinion of the writer is that it would have been better to have put the same amount of money into enlarging the church so as to accommodate all that wish to get into the church on certain occasions. Mr. Dixon gave the young people good advice in his final windup to keep the hall clean, not only from dust and dirt, but morally clean so that no reproach shall attach to either the hall or the settlement all of which we do heartily approve, and we are sure from what we know of the majority of the young people up there it will be kept morally clean above the average playhouse, there is but few settlements that have cleaner and better educated youngsters than the Denmark settlement.
H.P. Nielsen impersonated a sailor in good shape. When Peter undertakes to be funny, he is funny all over, and he provokes a good deal of merriment with his recitations.
The afternoon program wound up with a banquet in the basement where they had two long tables that would accommodate about one hundred people. There were all kinds of good things to eat and coffee. Owing to the threatening weather your scribe did not stay to help in clearing the tables, but we presume that that part was attended to in royal style.
The hall is a well planned building; there is cloak rooms and ticket office at the south end, and the stage is at the north end and is large and roomy. The hall proper will seat from four to five hundred, we could judge, and it is lighted by acetiline gas, and heated by a furnace. It is modern in every respect, and it is the first country operahouse we know of in Kansas. The dedication as a whole was a very nice gathering and very successful one in point of program and attendance even thought the roads were bad and the weather threatening it finally turned into a very respectable snow storm that lasted all through the night and Sunday, so we presume there was nothing doing in the evening.
A pecular feeling is very apt to creep into a fellow’s mind when we go to such gatherings. The original settlers are not much in evidence at this particular gathering, we did not meet but five that came to the settlement on Jan. 1, 1871. Those present were Peter Andersen, Ole Petersen, N. Nielsen, A. Ramussen and James Morgesen. It would have been a fine thing to have some short talks from each one of those old fellows. They could tell some wonderfully hard struggle stories from the early days, as for instance the struggle and energy by which the first school house was produced show a determination on the part of those old men that the next and succeeding generations should have the full [benefit of] education and it has proven to be the best work done in the settlement. I do well remember the work and the little loghouse. The district is number 12, showing the Danes were at it early to get a school and the number of the district would easily have been 2 or 3 if the first settlers in the spring of ’69 had not been driven out by the Indians, and half of their number killed.
It is a pleasure to meet and talk to those old gentlemen, they are physically strong and healthy and seem to enjoy the shadowy side of life in peace and plenty.
--- C. Bernhardt