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Glotzbach Gallery developed at theater site

Submitted photo Making possible the culmination of several months effort by State Street Theater Co. to create the Glotzbach Gallery are volunteers, left to right, Dr. Dan Groebner, Joseph Domeier (on ladder), and Richard Tostenson, President.

NEW ULM — The State Street Theater (SST) Company is completing the first phase of its new Glotzbach Gallery, depicting the history of the theater’s site.

The gallery depicts the history of the SST site, from its designation on the first plat map of 1858 to the actual development of school on the designated land.

SST Board President Emeritus Mary Ellen Domeier said the building parallels the importance of theatric productions in New Ulm to the convergence of education. Before the school was built on this location, plays were performed all over New Ulm. As the building was developed it became a center for education and theatrical performances.

The gallery will serve as a timeline of photos beginning with the 1858 plat map and continuing with site history during the original school, the Works Public Administration (WPA) period and other changes leading up to the recent work done by SST.

The gallery is named after the father and son duo, Linus Glotzbach and George Glotzbach. The two men were integral in the development of the school and later theater. In the 1930s, Linus facilitated the acquisition of WPA funding to enable the construction of additions to the 1915 existing structure.

A classroom addition was built on the north side and an auditorium/gymnasium on the south side. The project provided additional upper classroom learning spaces and addressed community economic shortfalls. Locals were employed and construction materials were purchased locally.

George, who recently died, was an avid supporter of the theater. He was a student at the New Ulm High School when construction finished and an actor in the first play students performed on its stage.

George was fond of the historic murals housed in the building. He donated his time and historic knowledge as well as financial support to the theater’s capital campaign and other endeavors.

Being very fond of all things pertinent to New Ulm’s history, he was enthusiastic at the efforts to interpret the history of the school site. George provided the theater a bequest upon his passing.

The first phase of the Glotzbach Gallery is nearing completion. Domeier said there will be other phases to the gallery. As funding becomes available, the gallery will include photos of casts from previous play productions over the years.

Donations, both financial and in-kind, make the gallery possible. Donations for historic site interpretation and preservation efforts can be sent to State Street Theater Co. (a not-for-profit 501(c)3 entity), PO Box 493, New Ulm, MN, 56073. An official open house event will be scheduled when the pandemic situations allow.

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