Amadeus Hall opens after historic building saved from demolition; open house July 7

OKEECHOBEE — The old church located at 1902 S. Parrott Ave. had been condemned and facing demolition when Wolfgang Jewelry owner Wolfgang Cortez bought the property to save the historic building.

Wolfgang Cortez (left) and Yolanda Cortez (right) stand next to the newly installed Amadeus Hall sign. The couple envision the banquet hall to be a perfect location for weddings, baby showers, birthday parties and any other gatherings. Photo by R. Marion.

Mr. Cortez had been using the property sparingly for overflow parking at his jewelry store next door. Along with his wife, Yolanda Cortez, he decided to restore the building to save it from demolition and preserve its long history in Okeechobee.

Once inside the building, the couple realized the extensive damage the property had suffered throughout the years. Roots from a nearby oak tree had began to grow through the floor, and that very same tree had been knocked over during a hurricane, causing more damage to the roof.

The church was originally built in 1915 and housed the Okeechobee Church of God and the Living Word of Faith at different times during in its 118-year span in Okeechobee. Mr. Cortez made every effort to use some of the original wood from inside the church in the restoration process.

It wasn’t long after the restoration began that the Cortezes began receiving calls about renting it.

“We began receiving calls almost immediately,” said Mrs. Cortez. “It was clear that there was a big need in Okeechobee of places for people to rent to use for activities. Because there aren’t too many here. So we decided to make it a banquet hall; that way, anyone can come rent and use the building.”

The Cortezes envision weddings, meetings, baby showers, birthday parties and any other gathering as possibilities at the banquet hall. An open house is planned for Saturday, July 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the community to come and visit the newly restored building.

When it came time to name the banquet hall, Mrs. Cortez decided to use her husband’s name, Wolfgang, as an inspiration.

“The name of Amadeus came from the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” Mrs. Cortez explained. “So I thought Amadeus Hall would be good. Our daughters thought I was crazy and the name wouldn’t be a good choice. But then I researched what Amadeus means, and found out it means ‘love of god.’ That is when I knew it’d be a beautiful name.”

The Cortezes have begun building a website for the venue at http://amadeushall.com/, and if you’re interested in keeping up with the banquet hall, you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Amadeus-Hall-2031304456944080/.

The open house is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, and all are welcome to attend.

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