Antioch Theatre

378 Lake Street,
Antioch, IL 60002

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Texas2step on December 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

The Majestic Theatre was a different theatre at another location. The Antioch Theatre was a new build which opened on July 26, 1924. History and opening ad can be found here.

LouRugani on September 1, 2015 at 3:00 am

The ANTIOCH Theatre was originally to be called the NEW MAJESTIC Theatre. It began as a co-partnership between Lyman B. Grice of Antioch and William C. Bryant of Bristol, Wisconsin (in neighboring Kenosha County). The theatre, with seats for 400 patrons, had a projected cost of $40,000.

Groundbreaking began on Wednesday, September 26, 1923. Soon after, Grice and Bryant sold a half-interest in the venture to James P. Johnson (a local proprietor of a resort hotel and the father of Oliver G. Johnson, who was managing the MAJESTIC Theatre in Antioch) and Albert L. Fell.

In January 1924, Oliver Johnson announced he was closing the MAJESTIC to move into the new ANTIOCH Theatre under construction and would be ending his lease with Barney Naber on Main Street, where the MAJESTIC had been since April 27, 1919, and that Naber would be leasing the former theatre to William Ross for a restaurant. Oliver G. Johnson brought in his brother Frank Johnson to co-manage the theatre.

The motto of the ANTIOCH Theatre was “The Public is Right.” The first feature presentation was Zane Grey’s “The Wanderer of the Wasteland.”

Fred B. Swanson, who began managing the ANTIOCH by December, 1925, was most associated with the success and improvements of the theatre, and remained as manager until May 21, 1941 when he purchased the building to become sole owner. He also owned other movie houses in the Midwest.

In October 1947, Swanson announced he had completed the remodeling of the ANTIOCH, which gave the theatre an additional 100 seats in the balcony.

On October 31, 1957, Swanson sold the ANTIOCH to William Goeway of Antioch, who took control on November 4. He also owned the nearby LAKES (nee CRYSTAL, now PM&L) Theatre. Goeway announced a new deluxe concession department and extensive remodeling of the theatre.

On May 31, 1962, Goeway sold the ANTIOCH to Henry C. Rhyan of the FAMILY Outdoor Theater in Grayslake and moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he intended to continue in the theatre business.

(Research: Al Westerman.)

jonrev on February 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Renovations are complete and the theatre re-opened today. A small ceremony was held last night to light the new marquee for the first time:

LouRugani on June 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm

ANTIOCH THEATRE SEEKS COMMUNITY HELP FOR RENOVATION (6/20/2014 by Jill Tatge-Rozell, Kenosha News) ANTIOCH — The owner of the Antioch Theatre and an investor trying to save the iconic movie venue are reaching out to the general public to raise the final $65,000 needed to complete a $750,000 renovation.

Owner Cindy Kottke, faced with deferred maintenance issues and outdated technology, shuttered the theater May 16.

Investor Tim Downey, a member of the founding team behind the Great Wolf Lodge resort chain, said the theater survived prohibition, the Great Depression and World War II. He said he believes, with the right backing, it can also survive the digital age.

“Movie theaters are like heartbeats for small downtowns,” Downey said. “When a downtown theater closes, fewer people visit and other businesses suffer. too. I just didn’t want to see that happen.”

Downey and Kottke said the goal of the renovation project is to preserve the historical character of the building while transforming it into a financially viable, modern theater.

The building dates back to 1919, when it opened as a live performance house called Majestic Theatre. In 1924, it was converted to a single-screen movie theater and was renamed Antioch Theatre. “One of the great things about this theater is it originally opened as a live theater,” Downey said. “So we are going to keep the stage. We will be able to offer live events, such as comedy nights, live performances, speakers and community events and benefits.”

Kottke said they will also preserve the balcony seating. “Moviegoers love the balcony,” Kottke said. “We are going to keep it pretty much the same.”

Downey added that previous renovations did not keep the history, or future, of the theater in mind. The lobby, for example, needs attention, he said. “There are glimpses of what it was,” Downey said. “I don’t want it to have a modern lobby. Hopefully, when it’s done, it will tell the story of what it could have, or should have, looked like in the ‘20s.”

Other upgrades will include:

— The addition of a 29-seat theater room

— All new digital projection and sound

— A new screen in the main theater, new drapery and new seats

— A new marquee and a redesigned facade

— A renovated lobby and heated front sidewalk

— Sprinkler fire protection

Downey said digital projection will allow the theater to show first-run releases and broadcast special events. The smaller theater will allow for the transfer of a movie onto a smaller screen in the latter weeks of its run so a new release can be featured on the larger screen.

“The additional screen is critical for successful operation in the future,” Downey said. “Movie distributors require theaters to hold films for two to four weeks. However, as a movie’s attendance drops during its run, a single-screen theater is burdened with little income while it waits for the next new release.”

Downey and Kottke have energized the community and the village of Antioch to get behind the renovation. Raymond Chevrolet, Something Sweet Confectionery, Great Lakes Credit Union, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and an anonymous benefactor have pledged $150,000 toward the project cost.

The village of Antioch will lend the project $200,000, to be repaid by a village-wide movie ticket tax. Another $35,000 will be raised through the sale of granite sidewalk stars and other personalized promotions.

Downey said they are hoping to raise the final $65,000 in pledges with the help of “Kickstart,” a website used by those seeking donations for worthwhile projects. The online pledges will only be accepted if the funding goal is met by the July 31 deadline.

A minimum pledge of $1 can be made through the website,, by searching for Save the Antioch Theatre project. Donations of at least $10 and upwards of $1,000 come with rewards ranging from free movie tickets and popcorn to seat sponsorship plaques and personalized glass wall stars that will hang in the theater.

The pledge drive went live June 16. As of Wednesday afternoon, 59 people had made pledges totaling nearly $5,500.

To make a donation pledge toward the Antioch Theatre renovation project:

— Visit and follow the link to the “Kickstarter” website.

— Call Tim Downey or Cindy Kottke at (847) 395-0425

The pledge will only be collected as a donation if the $65,000 fundraising goal is met by July 31.

Trolleyguy on June 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Status should be “closed.”

LouRugani on June 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Renovation plans for the Antioch Downtown Theatre in Antioch, Illinois:

LouRugani on February 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm

(Antioch News; May 25, 1961)

Fred Swanson

Funeral services were held at 1:30 p.m. yesterday in Joliet for Fred B. Swanson, 71, of 479 Naber, prominent resident, who died Friday in Victory Memorial Hospital, Waukegan.

Fellow Masons, business acquaintances and friends paid tribute to the movie theater executive and prominent member of Masonic organizations, who lay in state at Strang’s in Antioch Saturday and Sunday, at a chapel in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday, and at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Chicago from Wednesday morning until final ceremonies.

Mr. Swanson had undergone surgery last June to have a battery-powered heart-pumping device installed in his body. He died of a heart ailment.

He was born Dec, 15, 1889 in Stockholm, Sweden, and was brought by his parents to this country the next year. The family settled In Joliet. He had lived in Gary, Ind. before moving to Antioch 36 years ago.

Before his retirement he had owned theaters In Antioch, Savanna, Joliet, McHenry, Evanston and Gary.

He was a 33d Degree Mason and member of Gary Lodge 677 F & AM; Gary Chapter 139 Royal Arch Masons;; Waukegan Commandery 12; Red Cross Constantine Premier 1; Scottish Rite Body, Valley of Chicago; board of directors, Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Chicago.

He was a life member, Medinah Temple, Chicago; Royal Order of Justice, Court 48; honorary member Sequoit Lodge 827 AF & AM; Siloam Council 53, Royal and Select Masters of State of Illinois; Lake County Shrine Club; honorary Legion of Honor, International Supreme Council of “Order of DeMolay; Millburn Booster Club, DeMolay; Waukegan Swedish Glee Club; life member Gary Elks Lodge.

He held other high posts in Masonic organizations and was active in activities of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

Surviving are his widow, Alma; two brothers, William N., Joliet, and Oscar T., Lockport; and a sister, Mrs. John Harrington, Birmingham, Ala.

The Rev. Wallace Anderson conducted religious services at Strang’s on Sunday evening.

Interment was in Elmhurst cemetery, Joliet.

LouRugani on February 25, 2014 at 10:31 pm

(Antioch News; May 1, 1919) The Majestic Theater Moved to New Location

The Majestic theater was moved to its new location last Sunday afternoon.

The Naber store has been completely remodeled and is now as moddern and up to date a show house as will be found in much larger places.

The seating capacity is one hundred and seventy-five. A new gold fiber curtain has been purchased and was installed Wednesday afternoon by an expert from Chicago. Many changes have been made in the equipment and every effort will be made to give only first class shows.

The first play to be given in the new location is “The Greatest Thing In Life.” This is a Griffith production, and is something you can’t afford to miss. The first show starts at 7:00 o'clock sharp.

Trolleyguy on October 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

Still open at this point. The website is down but movie information is available via a recording at the phone number.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 31, 2012 at 10:41 am

Building was the Barney F. Nabor Store.

1919 remodeled into a “modern movie theater” the MAJESTIC THEATER.

July 1919 brought in two new reel machines so that a movie could be watched without interuption.

Sometime in the 1930’s the name changed to the ANTIOCH THEATRE.




1935-1945 Balaban & Katz 1950-1964 Van Nomlks ? Rhyan Theaters Present “C” You At The Movies, Inc. of Mc Henry, Illinois, Established 2003, Cynthia “Cindy” Kottke, President

More photos old and new, inside and out and more info always welcome!

From Manteno, Illinois

DavidZornig on September 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I just happened across the Antioch Theatre on a website called theshadowlands.

After clicking the “Illinois” link, it had a small blurb that the Antioch theatre is supposedly haunted. No pictures though.

mp775 on March 19, 2008 at 11:09 am

It is the same theater. Here is a 2006 photo.

kencmcintyre on January 19, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Here is an older photo. I’m not sure if the theater in the photo is the one described at the top of the page:

magicalgirl6 on September 8, 2005 at 4:31 pm

i have a ? when are you showing (if you are)(hopefully!!!!!!) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?


p.s. i live in Antioch and go to almost all the movies i like!!

i love the way you run things these days!!

p.p.s. if you know the times for the show please tell me.