Illinois Theatre

126 S. Locust Street,
Centralia, IL 62801

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bodkin6071 on April 29, 2021 at 1:14 am

Some Historical Facts about the Illinois Theatre:

First opened in 1922 as a Vaudeville Theatre.

First movie house in town to show “Talkies” in 1925.

In 1976 BAC renovated the building in blue and silver at a cost of $250,00. It was also at this time the Illinois became a twin.

In 1980 Kerasotes bought the building and operated it as a movie theatre until December 2001.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2020 at 11:34 pm

The American Contractor of March 26, 1921, carried a notice about a project that was probably the Illinois Theatre:

“Centralia, Ill.– Theater (MP) $50 000, 2 sty., 138x50, Centralia. Archt. Gill & Fat [sic], 1329A Walnut St., Murphysboro I11. Owner Hall & Griffin, Centralia. Gen. contr. let to MJ Heaton, Centralia. Owner & Gen. contr. taking bids on subs.”
The correct name of the architectural firm was Gill & Fath, who also designed the Rodgers Theatre at Carbondale and Marlow’s Theatre at Murphysboro. Rudolph Zerses Gill was a well-known architect in the region, and several of his buildings have been nominated to the NRHP. I’ve been unable to find any information about Mr. Fath.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Official opening date was January 16, 1922.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Konrad Schiecke’s Historic Movie Theatres in Illinois says that the Illinois Theatre opened in 1921.

From 1929 into the early 1940s, the Centralia Evening Sentinel usually refers to the house as the Fox Illinois Theatre.

bodkin6071 on October 11, 2016 at 12:23 am

Going back 31 years… the Illinois was showing the following:

6/28/85: The Goonies and Return To Oz 7/3/85: Back to the Future and The Emerald Forest 7/24/85/: Back to the Future and The Black Cauldron 8/2/85: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Heavenly Kid 8/9/85: Pale Rider and My Science Project 8/16/85: Return of the Living Dead and My Science Project 8/23/85: Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird and National Lampoon’s European Vacation 8/30/85: Summer Rental and Teen Wolf

dschmeink on August 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Great news that the city preserved this theatre. The inside is impressive and was well-maintained. A diamond in the rough no doubt.

bodkin6071 on May 4, 2009 at 2:11 am

Picture from February 1985:
View link

dabroots on June 9, 2007 at 8:22 pm

For a photo of the Illinois Theater that I snapped while visiting my hometown in late 2006, click

RaneyOnline on May 21, 2007 at 4:41 am

Good Luck with the renovations. I hope you are able to open and find success. Hart Theater in Effingham and Plaza Theater in Mt.Vernon are also struggling. Maybe a special theater-owners group should be formed to share information with each other?

CentPlan on January 9, 2007 at 12:14 pm

While the load photo function is down – see photos at

CentPlan on January 9, 2007 at 12:11 pm

The City of Centralia has just received a sizeable Illinois State Tourism Bureau grant for renovation. Local fundraising continues, but we hope to begin renovation in early summer, and open for shows by the Holiday 2007 season!
p.s. I have a key to the building if anyone wants to see the inside, just give me a call.
Garrett Anderson (618)533-7623

CentPlan on April 18, 2005 at 4:05 pm

I’ve got some good pictures of the present interior (and outside). I’ll post some as soon as the photo feature is back online. The building is still in great shape, but the old seats were getting moldy, and were removed.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 18, 2005 at 3:54 pm

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook,1943 as being operated by Fox Midwest Amusement Corp.

CentPlan on April 18, 2005 at 3:47 pm

I am the Director of Community Development & Planning for Centralia, IL. Yes, the theater is in the process of being donated by Kerasotes to the City of Centralia. The theater will be restored, and will run classic movies and live entertainment. If anyone has interest in the theater, or would like to come see it when it’s done – please contact me at (618) 533-7623. Also – is anyone is aware of grants or fundraising tips – we’d love to hear it.
Garrett Anderson

DSnow on March 28, 2005 at 1:36 am

The Illinois Theatre is still standing. Straith Jewelers is next door.