Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Aitkin, MN, and help us restore the building where Judy Garland (aka Baby Gumm) performed in 1925 — the Aitkin Opera House! We are bringing the Opera House BACK TO LIFE to relive Over the Rainbow and other Judy Garland classics. 50% of the renovation is done…another $999,000, and we will have restored the building and can list it on the National Historic Registry. The Opera House will be a launching pad for the next generation of Judy Garland’s!


My name is Sylvia Allen and I bought this building 5.5 years ago so I could restore it to its original historic integrity.  Originally called the Hodgeden-McDonald building,  the 24,000 square foot, three-story structure, was built in 1903-04 and was the one-stop shop of its day with a grocery store, coffee shop, bank, buggies and wagons, barber shop, community baths and, of course, the Opera House…all under one roof.

Help us restore it to bring the Opera House back to life with renditions of Over the Rainbow and other Judy Garland classics.

We need to raise $999,000 … if you want to send the whole amount we will name the theater after you, in perpetuity! (truly)

Dont have close to a million dollars?

  • For $10,000 your name will be integrated into the Yellow Brick Road around the building and on the Yellow Brick Road plaque on the building;
  • For $5,000 you can honor a family member or friend in one of the bricks on the Yellow Brick Road;
  • For $1,000 you can memorialize a loved one on a brass plaque on the Heritage Wall located in the building; and
  • For $500 your name will be prominently displayed on the Donor Wall.

Quite frankly, if you are a fan of this lovely actress or this classic movie and have a smaller donation we will be most grateful, as well!

Little by little does the trick.   ~ Aesop

We are halfway through this historic renovation … another $999,000 and we will have completely restored the building to its original integrity, as well as being ready to put the building on the National Historic Registry.  And, the Opera House will, once again, be a launching pad for the next generation of Judy Garland fans!

RISKS? None …

Much of the renovation has been done and the building has become a community center as well as an icon for the town.  (A recent survey listed the Butler Building/Opera House as one of the five main reasons people come to Aitkin!)

The building owner has had her own PR business for 38 years ( and has an established track record of integrity, honesty and performance.

Her FAMILY  has come to Aitkin for over 100 years as they have had summer residences within 15 miles of the town.  It is really a second home.

And, the building owner is reachable:

732 946 2711/cell   –   732 241 1144     –    218 678 2441