Heart Theater

133 E. Jefferson Avenue,
Effingham, IL 62401

Unfavorite 11 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 48 comments

Jake Bottero
Jake Bottero on May 22, 2021 at 4:59 am

Looks pretty sad these days, but mostly still there in all its glory…

GeorgeStrum on February 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Contact the Theatre Historical Society.

stormdog on January 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I was in Effingham to photograph the Heart Theater this past Summer and just got around to editing and posting my photos of her. Here’s a photo of the whole facade. You can see the rest of my shots adjacent to this one in my photostream.

Heart Theatre Facade

EdBaumgarten on March 4, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Travis518, if you’re still interested, contact Jeff Speer at the Effingham Remax office or one of his staff, they can probably give you the pertinent information. I’m a local photographer.

travis518 on August 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Does anyone know who to contact about buying this cinema?

Packardgirl on November 5, 2010 at 11:43 am

I looked at the recent photos and was wondering if the pieces that were missing are vitrolite or terra cotta? I was by there in the Spring of ‘09 and it can’t remeber.Any other news on it?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Nice theatre,I hate small marquees on theatres.

TLSLOEWS on July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Nice photos of the Heart Theatre.

soybean on February 1, 2009 at 8:01 am

What I read online the reason the deal fell through was when the building was inspected by an building inspector for the buyer. Mold was found in the building. The inside of the theater would had to be gutted & rebuilt before the theater could be reopen. The seller had the possible buyers believing the theater building would be a turn key operation. The buyer who pulled out believed untill the building inspector gave her the bad news about the building. There wouldn’t be much worked involved before reopening the theater. So who ever buys the theater will have to plan on spending a large amount of money in redoing the theater besides the price they paid for the

kencmcintyre on January 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1940. The Hart spelling is theirs.

EFFINGHAM, ILL.-The Frisina Amusement Co. was scheduled to open its new theater, the Hart, here with appropriate ceremonies Thursday. Exhibitors from central Illinois were invited to attend.

Patsy on December 30, 2008 at 6:45 am

Bloo: Again, I say someone should approach Mike Yeager of Mid America Enterprises and see if he would be interested!! He is in Effingham!

bloosoda on December 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Bad news, the deal fell through…the buyer apparently pulled out after the auction…so the Heart IS STILL FOR SALE! If interested, contact Mark at 217-549-3000

bloosoda on December 19, 2008 at 10:08 am

It appears to have sold at auction!

Sunday, June 29, 2008 9:06 PM CDT
Effingham resident saves Heart Theater
By HERB MEEKER, Staff Writer

EFFINGHAM â€" Over the years, the Heart Theater gave customers many happy endings.

The same was true Saturday afternoon through a drama played outside the theater. But there was still some nail-biting suspense.

Mark McSparin could not get the right price for the 68-year-old movie theater during an auction under the marquee Saturday. So he planned to sell pieces of the art deco exterior and other fixtures to turn the structure into a storage building in a few weeks.

But McSparin had no intention of being labeled the villain in this drama. He said he was willing to accept any final bids to keep from breaking the heart of the theaterâ€\s fans.

Effingham resident Lonnie Waymoth came to the rescue for the idled entertainment venue a few hours later when he brokered a deal with McSparin. Waymoth was the high bidder at $80,000 during the sale conducted by auctioneer Art Schackmann of Jasper County.

McSparin was asking for a bottom-dollar offer of $110,000 when the auction ended before the over-the-phone dickering by the owner and high bidder, who faced limited opposition during the bidding.

“We were real close to each other on price. I guess weâ€\re both satisfied,” said Waymoth, whose family, including his daughter, Angela Waymoth Lappin, plans to re-open the theater in a matter of months. “We were close enough so we pushed a little more.”

“Iâ€\m not satisfied with the final price, but I accomplished what I set out to do by selling the theater. The people of Effingham will be happy to see this,” said McSparin, whose new drive-in theater opened this weekend at Charleston.

The Heart has been inactive as a movie theater for about 18 months. But it reaches back many decades in Effingham social history. It opened in 1940 as a state-of-the-art motion picture theater and a notable architectural addition to the Effingham Courthouse Square.

“This is where I had my first job when I was 11,” said Effingham resident Don Eden prior to the auction that drew about 40 people near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Third Street. “I swept up the place and blew out the popcorn from under the seats. And I got to see all those wonderful movies, too.”

Many auction spectators walked through the theater prior to Schackmannâ€\s call for bidders outside. They had a chance to see the interior of the projection room, the office and a storage room where marquee letters and other pieces of equipment were stacked on shelves.

Effingham resident Marion Burford was thrilled to see old popcorn bags saved in one room. She wondered if one could be saved for inclusion in a local history museum.

The ticket booth has not changed over the years, or the colorful marquee with its rows of flashing lights. This sense of nostalgia for the Heart was what drew Waymoth, a semi-retired businessman, to Saturdayâ€\s transaction.

“It goes back to my beginning of time,”he said. “One of the movies I remember seeing when I was younger was ‘The Ten Commandments.â€\”

The Waymoth clan seemed to be drawn to the idea of showbiz before the deal was sealed Saturday. Waymothâ€\s granddaughter was placing her tiny hands in the handprints from a 1960 commemoration near the curb in front of the theater. She seemed starstruck.

“I guess this will be a family endeavor,” Waymoth said. “You just hate to let go of this.”

Contact Herb Meeker at or 238-6869

danking on June 21, 2008 at 11:22 am

The Effingham Heart Theater is scheduled to be auctioned on June 28 by Schackman Auction Service of Newton, IL.

And to the person posting as Effingham resident, I would remind you that libel laws still apply to online posting.

Patsy on June 17, 2008 at 9:59 am

I would venture to say that the RMC business is mostly young kids so they don’t understand nor grasp the idea of a hometown, downtown historic art deco theatre. I would also venture to say that those kids wouldn’t even know what the term “art deco” means.

cminor89 on June 16, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Yes. Effingham has another multi-theatre complex called RMC Cinemas at the mall in town. They have I believe around 10 theatres. The differnce between the Heart Theatre and RMC is the Hearts artsy look and the RMC’s more retro hip look. RMC’s prices are also a lot more pricy. Tickets are $7.25 per person compared to the Hearts $2.00 for seniors and students and $3.00 for adults. The Heart also boasts for its $1, $1.50, and $2.00 small, medium, and large popcorn and soda (unlimited refills) prices compared the to $3 for a soda and popcorn with only one refill at the mall. However the mall seems to still keep all the business.

Patsy on June 16, 2008 at 10:10 am

Effingham Resident: Your comments about making sure the theatre “stays in good hands” was music to my ears! I commend you and wish you all the best. And to think the town was wanting to “wreck it” is not music to my ears! The art deco Heart needs to be saved and appreciated now and for future generations. Just curious: Does the town have one of those multi-plexes in a nearby mall? If so, this may be why the town thinks it doesn’t need this quaint theatre from their past….all the more reason to “treasure” it. I’m glad that it has been added to Cinema Treasures by a Paul Salley and a Colby Higgs. Thank you CT members.

cminor89 on June 16, 2008 at 2:02 am

I think I am just going to bite the bullet and buy the theatre when I return from Germany in a few weeks so I know it stays in good hands. The town was wanting the library to wreck it and rebuild there, someone was thinking about making it into a dinner and stand up comedy club, and another man wanted to turn it into a bookstoor.

I want to make sure it stays as the original Heart Theatre so I am just going to buy it in a few weeks.

Patsy on June 15, 2008 at 6:15 am

Effingham Resident: Thanks for the informative post. I only mentioned Mr. Yeager as I know he is a longtime resident and one who could pursue this project for his fellow citizens and make it work! My husband will see him later this month so I will have him put a “bug” in Mike’s ear about this and just see where it goes as this theatre should be saved, imo!

Patsy on May 21, 2008 at 8:51 am

Lost: What a wonderful theatre in the heartland of America. Sure hope someone buys it…soon! Sure wish we could learn the asking price on CT!

Patsy on May 3, 2008 at 7:33 am

Martin: The phone number on the marquee is 217/549-3000. Keep us posted!

CINEPROF on May 3, 2008 at 1:32 am

anybody know what is the asking price?

Patsy on April 6, 2008 at 6:49 am

A neat old art deco theatre with a great marquee and facade that needs to be purchased and become part of the community, again!

Patsy on March 24, 2008 at 7:41 am

T.M.S.: Below is an email that I rec’d with a contactphone number. Hope this helps…keep us posted. Thanks.

The phone number on the marquee is 217/549-3000. We are delighted someone is at least interested in it. It is an historical landmark here and everyone would dearly like someone to take it and get it back to working condition.

Pat Copple

Program Coordinator

Patsy on March 20, 2008 at 7:52 pm

T.M.S.: Try this link which is the Chamber of Commerce site for Effingham. They might be able to help you locate someone connected to the Heart Theatre.