Madison Theatre

107 NE Madison Avenue,
Peoria, IL 61602

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Publix Theaters Corporation

Architects: Frederic J. Klein

Styles: Italian Renaissance, Neo-Classical

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News About This Theater

Madison Theatre

Opened in 1920, for local businessman Dee Robinson, the Madison Theatre was designed by Frederic J. Klein. Klein also designed Rockford’s huge Coronado Theatre seven years later.

Designed with an Italian Renaissance exterior and Neo-Classical style interior, the Madison Theatre originally hosted both vaudeville acts and silent films, but switched to sound by the late-1920’s.

Robinson featured annual Christmas shows at the Madison Theatre for which children were admitted free of charge. After he died, the practice continued into the 1950’s.

The auditorium features a high domed ceiling with classical-inspired plasterwork decorating both the ceiling and side walls. The ceiling of the theatre’s lobby is also domed, and its facade features extensive terra-cotta work, with a triple-arched window over the marquee.

In 1980, the Madison Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The last major movie palace built in Peoria, the stunningly restored Madison Theatre continued to draw crowds as a venue for rock concerts and other live acts until it closed in 2003. New owners have said they may restore the building, but by 2010, nothing has happened. In February 2022 plans were announced that the Madison Theatre would be restored.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on January 9, 2013 at 7:52 am

I recently photographed the Madison Theater check out the post at After the Final Curtain

Mark on August 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Speaking on artisans who could properly restore the Madison to opening day (1921) condition: as of 2013 two firms with histories predating the golden age of movie palace’s still exsist today. 1. Conrad Schmitt of New Berlin, WI was founded in 1889 and has been an industry leader as first, a decorating company during the architectural boom of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s and second, as a leader in the restoration of many of those same properties decades later. Conrad Schmitt also has the most theater/auditorium retorations under their belt, numbering in the hundreds. Their history and portfolio can be found at 2. Rambusch Studios, of New York, NY was founded in 1898 and has a long and venerable project/client list mirroring that of Conrad Schmitt. They can be found at
Evergreene Architectural Arts also of New York, NY was founded in 1978 and quickly became a leader in the revitalizing of historic art and architecture. Evergreene is the first choice among several prominent historic preservationist architectural firms. They can be found at

Mark on August 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Here’s a link to a great, eight minute video on Conrad Schmitt Studios.

bbollinger on September 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm

I saw the house of wax in 3d back in 1953. Just bought it for tv but can’t get buttercup

DavidZornig on July 13, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Seven images added to Photos Section courtesy of the Peoria Public Library.

pnelson on July 13, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Elegant and lovely vintage theatre. Color choice was wonderful. Hope it is restored again and in use again too.

DavidZornig on June 11, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Regarding photo posted by Mark 8/19/13, Per the Local History Collection : Peoria Public Library.

The Warner Brothers 1936 movie “Earthworm Tractors” had a worldwide premiere at the Madison Theater in downtown Peoria, Illinois on July 24th 1936. The movie was based upon the Caterpillar Track Type Tractor and Caterpillar employees who built and sold the tractors.

rso1000 on June 25, 2021 at 6:50 pm

Re-opening update ! ! ! ! !

PEORIA on February 6, 2022 at 9:45 pm


Exciting News, in case Anyone hasn’t already heard about It. * (See the Following Peoria News website Links) ….

Stay Tuned!

MSC77 on November 20, 2023 at 4:40 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Peoria: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1976-Present”.

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