Piper’s Opera House – Virtual Tour

I recently had the opportunity to visit the historic Piper’s Opera House and put together a virtual tour of the building. It was my first experience with 360° photography and it was a fun challenge. You can click through the different nodes to see different parts of the building. 

I was interested in shooting the Piper’s Opera House because of its historical and cultural significance for Nevada.

About Piper’s Opera House:

Today Virginia City is considered a small town, but in the late 19th Century the population boomed at 25,000. This was at the height of the Nevada silver rush and all of those Comstock Loders needed to be entertained. Enter Piper’s.

Piper’s seated nearly a thousand people, and typical of “opera houses” of the 19th century, it rarely, if ever, saw an opera grace its stage. It was an eclectic venue–more of a music hall–but never too booked to find room for a political debate or revival meeting, a down-and-dirty bear fight, society dance, or even the occasional boxing match.

The Opera House that stands today was built in 1885, but its history goes back to the 1860s. John Piper, a German immigrant, legislator and one-time mayor, bought his first theater in 1868. It was destroyed in 1875 in Virginia City’s Great Fire, a blaze that burned out a full square mile of the town. Piper built a new theater a couple of years later, and that one burned down too. But third time’s a charm, and in 1885 he built again, and the place has been standing at the corner of Union and B ever since.

In 1997, Piper’s was sold to the non-profit Piper’s Opera House Historic Programs. Grants from the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs and National Park Service Save America’s Treasures have enabled structural reinforcements and renovations that continue today.

About 360° Photography:

In order to create a virtual tour you need to shoot several photos and have them slightly overlap in order to stitch them together later. The 360° panorama is unique and allows people to be fully immersed in a location. If you have a passion for photography and would like to learn more about this process – this site is a great resource – Learn 360 Photography

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