Delphi Opera House Triggers Restoration Ripple

The restoration of Delphi’s Opera House earned accolades and set the stage for rehab of the 1865 Crosby Hotel next door.

Crosby Hotel, Delphi
Delphi's restored Opera House (left) is widely credited with sparking downtown revival. A new partnership is now focused on rehab of the connected 1865 Crosby Hotel (right). (Photo: Anita Werling)

Good Neighbors

The Delphi Preservation Society’s (DPS) award-winning revival of Delphi’s historic Opera House stretched across nearly two decades. It also extended across property lines, when the group bought the former Crosby Hotel next door. DPS recently sold the Crosby, but the group’s brief ownership leaves the building with initial repairs, a protective easement, and a new owner focused on reviving the 1865 landmark on the courthouse square.

During the theater’s heyday, its opera house leased the hotel’s fourth floor for dressing rooms, reached through a door in the brick wall separating the two buildings. DPS bought the Crosby in 2011 to ensure its preservation and promote downtown development. The group tackled exterior repairs using funds from the state Stellar Communities program before looking for a preservation-minded buyer to finish rehab.

Late last year, DPS sold the Crosby to a new private partnership of seasoned preservation advocates: Anita Werling, former DPS president who spearheaded restoration of the Opera House, along with Bonnie Maxwell, Jeff Been, and Eric Graninger. The new partnership, officially Delphi Square Partners, LLC, is eyeing a restaurant for the ground floor with guest suites on the three upper floors. They’ve already installed a new roof, repaired masonry, and hauled out loads of debris in preparation for interior rehab.

Crosby Hotel, Delphi

To protect the Crosby, DPS donated a preservation easement to Indiana Landmarks. The easement gives Indiana Landmarks the legal right and obligation to protect the building from demolition or exterior changes that diminish its historic character. Our Western Regional Office will work closely with the new group as it transforms the building.

Hear more about restoration of the Opera House – widely credited with sparking revival of Delphi’s historic downtown – at storytelling events on March 4 in Indianapolis and May 6 in Delphi. Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indiana Landmarks commissioned the story, “The Oracle of Delphi – A Grand History of the Delphi Opera House,” for If These Walls Could Tell, an annual program underwritten by Frank and Katrina Basile.

Learn more about Delphi at and check out a video about the city’s Stellar Communities project. Watch for details about the May 6 storytelling event.

For more information about Indiana Landmarks’ easement program, contact our Western Regional Office at 812-232-4534,

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