In 1902, a raging fire destroyed the two main blocks of downtown Reedley. Instrumental in rebuilding was local Danish grain merchant Jesse Jansen. He organized the downtown merchants to work together to rebuild most of the structures in brick.
In 1903, Jansen built a half block of brick buildings which included Reedley's first bank, real estate and insurances offices, and The Jansen Opera House. Built at Jansen's own expense, The Jansen Opera House was to serve as a cultural and community center for the Reedley area.
The Jansen Opera House was the forerunner of today's multipurpose community center. The Reedley Exponent archives mention traveling stage shows, operettas, community plays, political speeches, grand balls, square dances, band concerts, town meetings, box suppers, graduations, and church revivals as the types of activities at The Jansen Opera House. For four years, The Jansen Opera House served as a Catholic church. Its heyday ended in the early 1920s with the introduction and popularity of movie houses.
The remodeling of The Jansen Opera House began in 1983 and took nine months to complete. In 1986 The Jansen Opera House was featured in Sunset Magazine. The same year it was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In early 2001, Makiji and Ruth Hase and Art and Pat Bergthold donated the fully restored Jansen Opera House to the City of Reedley for use as a cultural arts center dedicated to family entertainment and as a facility for community and private events. Today The 1903 Jansen Opera House is home to Reedley's River City Theatre Company.