One of the most unusual historic buildings in Socorro is the Garcia Opera House located at the corner of California Street and Abeyta Avenue. Its walls are slanted, making it look as though the building is about to topple over. However, it was built that way on purpose: the curved 34-inch walls strengthen the building and improve its acoustics. Another notable architectural feature is its “rake” stage, slanted from the rear to the front so the audience can see the entire stage. The Opera House was built between 1884 and 1887 by Francesca Garcia, the widow of Socorro businessman Juan Nepomuceno Garcia. She inherited his gold after he died and she used it to build the Opera House in his honor. It served as the community center and was used for such varied activities as theatrical productions, dances, weddings, political rallies, and school functions. Eventually the building fell into disuse and disrepair. It was acquired by Holm Bursum, Jr., and in 1983, with matching funds from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Bureau, he began restoring the building to its former glory. The restoration was completed in 1985 and the building has once again become a focal point for theater productions, teas, weddings and other community activities. Now owned and operated by the Garcia Opera House Foundation, the Garcia Opera House is on the National Register of Historic Sites and is open to the public during special events.