The history of the Wareham begins well more that 100 years ago when Manhattan businessman H.S. Moore built a wood and stone theater on the site in 1884 and named it The Coliseum.
In 1893, Harry P. Wareham purchased the building, installed electricity and renamed it The Wareham Opera House. In 1910, the structure was enlarged and remodeled with the current facade. In 1911 a screen was installed in front of the stage and the Wareham became the second theater in Kansas to show movies. The Wareham remained one of Manhattan’s main movie theaters until 1986.
A new model for doing business was created in 1988, when the permanent seating was removed and the slanted theater floor was constructed into different levels. It was in 1988, when The Wareham became an event center.
In December 2005, businessman Darrell M. Hills II and his wife Molly Hills purchased the Wareham and started renovations to update the building, while still keeping the beautiful history of the building alive. Perhaps no image better represents Manhattan and Poyntz Avenue than the towering Marquee of the Beautiful Wareham Opera House.
In 2022, a nonprofit organization, Wareham Hall Renovation Fund purchased the Wareham Opera House on Poyntz Avenue for the purpose of exploring the feasibility of renovating the space to better support live music and performance arts. You can email Blade Mages at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ideas for programming, interest in supporting the effort to renovate the space or have a story to share about The Wareham.