1218 Maine Street,
Windsor, IL 61957

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This theatre appears on the 1913 Sanborn, in one of the storefronts of a block of 2-story brick buildings that were constructed sometime before 1898. The 1907 map shows this portion as a meat market. The theatre remains in operation on the 1922 map.

It is unknown when the theatre closed, but the buildings seem to have survived into the early-1970’s. All the structures at this end of the block have been replaced by a depressing collection of metal sheds and gravel.

While the theatre was operating, the street was called Virginia Avenue, and the 1922 map shows an address of 218 W. Virginia Avenue.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

SethG on June 27, 2023 at 9:59 am

Since a lot of the E-W roads are states, the spelling of Maine St was correct.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2023 at 6:02 pm

Windsor (or New Windsor, as it is sometimes styled) is absent from the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, but that is most likely an oversight. For what it’s worth, the only theater listed at Windsor in the 1926 FDY was called the Grand, for which no seating capacity was given. However, the April 26, 1924 issue of Exhibitors Herald featured a capsule movie review from George Roberts of the Cozy Theatre, New Windsor.

The Cozy must have been the unnamed theater that was being auctioned off for Mr. Roberts that year, as noted in this ad from the classified section of the September 18 issue ofExhibitors Herald:

“OPERA HOUSE AND MOVING PICTURE THEATRE at Auction at New Windsor, Ill. Building 110x28 ft. on Main street, A-l location. Complete equipment. Simplex machines. 250 chair capacity. 700 population in rich farming community. Best in Middle West. Auction held at premises Friday, September 17th, at one p. m. Possession January 1st, 1927, or immediately if purchaser assumes film contracts. 10% cash. Balance on possession. For particulars write or wire Geo. W. Roberts, Owner, or E. Boultinghouse & Son, Auctioneers, Aledo, Illinois.”
It’s probably too late to write or wire Messrs. Roberts or Boultinghouse about the details, but the dimensions of the building do just about match those of the theater on the Sanborn map– though probably a large percentage of the storefronts of that period did. It seems likely enough though that whoever bought the Cozy renamed it the Grand.

In the 1929 FDY the theater at Windsor was a 300-seeat house, again called the Cozy. In 1934 it was listed as a silent house called the Family, and was closed. In 1935 it was open again and called the Windsor. It was still operating as the Windsor in 1940, 1945, and 1946. Throughout this period it is listed with 300 seats. In the 1947 FDY the Windsor is joined by a 275-seat house called the Dutchess [sic], but the town being a small as it was I suspect the Windsor had merely been renovated and renamed and the Year Book just didn’t keep their records up-to-date. There is no way this tiny town could have supported two theaters in the 1940s, or probably any time in its history.

In any case, if the Cozy was the house that had been at 1218 Main in 1913 and 1922, then that was probably where Windsor’s movie houses were into the 1940s, at least.

SethG on June 27, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Sorry, but New Windsor is a completely different town on the other side of the state. Windsor is between Mattoon and Shelbyville. New Windsor is between Galesburg and Davenport, IA.

SethG on June 27, 2023 at 7:40 pm

Since New Windsor insists on calling itself Windsor as well, it is very confusing. I guess this was likely the Grand, then perhaps Windsor? This town is a few hundred people larger than New Windsor, but not enough to support two theaters. I agree that the ‘Dutchess’ is either a renaming, or perhaps a confusion between Windsors.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2023 at 3:54 am

That /is/ confusing, and it doesn’t help that a Google search on the names generates exactly the same area map for both towns. FDY contributes to the confusion in 1947, listing the Windsor and the 275-seat Dutchess at Windsor and the 210-seat Duchess at New Windsor. That the Duchess was actually in New Windsor is confirmed by an item about the opening of the house in Film Daily of July 17, 1946, and a mention of a closing in Variety in July, 1952. The 1934 FDY listing of the Family was also New Windsor. Windsor itself wasn’t included in FDY that year.

SethG on June 28, 2023 at 8:42 am

Since you’ve definitely identified a New Windsor theater, you should add the Cozy. Not sure where it would have been. There is only one map, from 1916, and it’s no help. New Windsor’s downtown is actually nicer than Windsor’s, and it’s possible the building is still there.

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