Gem Theatre

106 S. Locust Street,
Centralia, IL 62801

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Theatres (Reading, PA)

Previous Names: Casino Theatre

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Gem Theatre

Centralia’s first regular movie house was in operation by 1907 as the Casino Theatre. In 1909 it reopened on November 18 as the Gem Theatre.

The Gem Theatre was operated as an independent house for many years by Harmon Ferguson, but in 1925 came under control of the Fox interests. Ferguson went on to be manager of Fox’s Illinois Theatre and later the State Theatre.

The Gem Theatre was last listed in Film Daily’s Yearbook in 1931, with an asterisk denoting that it had not been wired for sound pictures.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

SethG
SethG on January 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Should be listed as demolished. The current building is only one story. The 1924 Sanborn shows the theater as a two-story brick building. On that map, the address is 108. Not sure why the renumbering, 104 already was skipped to make this 108.

On the 1909 map, the address is 106. The theater is sharing the building with a millinery, at about 60/40 in favor of the theater. The stage section is also smaller on this map.

The building was originally a tin front, constructed sometime between 1886 and 1892, and occupied by a dry goods store until the theater moved in. The tin front is not noted after the 1902 map.

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