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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • HGTV to feature former McPherson opera house

  • While giving a tour of his home, McPherson resident Chuck Vetters said he and his wife Taryn had shown a friend in real estate the upper floor they reside in before renovation.
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  • While giving a tour of his home, McPherson resident Chuck Vetters said he and his wife Taryn had shown a friend in real estate the upper floor they reside in before renovation.
    “When the work was done,” Vetter said, “we had a celebratory event with the contractors and people who’d been involved along the way. At that event, our friend looked at us and said, ‘When I first saw this space, I thought you were out of your minds.’”
    Her viewpoint was understandable given the knowledge that the upper story of the building, which had served as McPherson’s original opera hall, had been derelict since the 1970s. Extensive renovation five years ago resulted in the space not just becoming the family’s home, but a home the cable network Home and Garden Television has deemed worthy of presenting on its program, “You Live in a What?”
    The Vetters have been McPherson staples for years, and own and operate Sounds Great Music at 123 N. Main St. and CT Fit 24 at 119 N. Main St. in the ground story of their building. Taryn Vetter also works as a McPherson Middle School literature teacher, and Chuck Vetter is the president of the McPherson Opera House Board of Directors.
    It is above these businesses that the Vetters have made their home, transforming the ramshackle interior into a home overlooking McPherson’s Main Street.
    The building was constructed in 1880, originally serving as McPherson’s first opera hall. Eventually McPherson’s audiences outgrew the building, leading to more use of the McPherson Opera House, which soon replaced it in that function.
    The lower story of the building served as the McPherson State Bank, which was the first bank in town.
    Disuse as an opera hall resulted in the upper story’s conversion to a dance hall. There also was a meeting hall in the building, and during the late 1800s when McPherson was seriously being considered for the state capital, state representatives met there several times for legislative sessions.
    The meeting hall served other, more local groups as well.
    In the 1940s, the building was divided to become an office building, in which were housed businesses such as a law office, an accountant, several dentists and a photography studio. The bottom story spent several decades as a J.C. Penny store.
    In the 1970s, the building was abandoned and left derelict, with much of it falling into disrepair.
    The Vetters first bought the corner portion of the building in 2001, which is where Sounds Great Music is now, as well as the loft directly above it. In 2008, they purchased the rest of the building.
    The Vetters then set out on their upper story renovations and spent six months converting the dilapidated upper story into their home.
    Page 2 of 2 - Chuck Vetter said HGTV contacted them after seeing an article about their home in another publication.
    “They’re coming on Nov. 12 for the shoot,” Vetter said. “It will be a 12-hour shoot, starting at 9 a.m. and lasting to 9 p.m.”
    Vetter said HGTV also was very interested in the city of McPherson itself, and will be shooting footage around town.
    “They’re going to look over the town,” Vetter said. “Community activity is a plus to them, and we’re hoping to direct them to other landmarks in town, such as the courthouse, the Opera House and the museum.”
    The episode is slated for a broadcast date sometime in 2014, though the actual date has not yet been established.
    Vetter said having HGTV take an interest in his home was gratifying.
    “I’d like to encourage people to do things like this,” Vetter said. “A lot of these upstairs spaces are unused assets. About the only thing people can do with spaces like this is build personal dwellings, and we bought into the town of McPherson a long time ago. We’re in it for the long haul.”

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