Palace Theatre

122 W. Main Street,
Elmwood, IL 61529

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Related Websites

Palace Theatre - Elmwood (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 309.741.1059

Nearby Theaters

Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre opened in 1913, as a vaudeville theatre, and later switched over to movies. It was wired for sound in 1930.

In 1935, it was purchased by Ed & Vivian Hahn on their wedding day. They operated it until September 17, 1979, when it was purchased by Vern & Christine Reynolds. Vern Reynolds is the sole current operator, operating as Reynolds Theatres. The theatre has been beautifully restored and renovated to its original appearance. A next-door barber shop was converted into a larger concession area.

The Palace Theatre contains its original tin ceiling and features a 75 seat balcony, with seating for 300 on the main floor.

On June 5, 2010, the town and theatre was hit by a tornado and is in the process of being restored. The theatre will seat on the main floor 234, and the balcony will be reduced to 45 seats. It reopened June 1, 2011, but closed briefly in January 2016 and was reopened by new operators.

This rare single-screen movie house is one of the gems of charming downtown Elmwood.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Patsy on June 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Chuck: I agree, but in the meantime I thought an email of concern would show our support during their time of upheaval.

CSWalczak on June 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Peoria is the largest city in the country? Who would have guessed? 8-)

Patsy on June 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

Chuck: I wondered about the word “country” vs “county”! None the less, I hope that the Palace is able to make their roof remains and get back to normal operations soon!

adm22 on January 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm

They are still closed website says they maye soon reopne and have a poll question asking if they do if people will be willing to pay $4 for a ticket. I used to go there on occasion nice theatre.

adm22 on August 5, 2011 at 8:08 am

The local shopper paper that came in the post today has an ad from them saying theyare now opening and running the movie Zookeeper- whihc starts today.

A few months back they had an ad saying they were looking for people to sponsor seats. I was not sure what had happened to them until that point. They are about 30 miles from me and I am at the northern end of the area the paper services, they are at the southern end. Their ads stopped last summer adn were replaced by ones for a theatre another 30 miles further south for awhile.

Gald to see they are back open. I used to go there a couple fo times a year when they were open.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on April 12, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Theater is open and showing movies when I went by for photos yesterday (4-11-2015).

berniebarton on June 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

One glitch with the historical report; the Hahns operated until 1979, not 1997. The Palace was at that time the Reynolds' first moviehouse purchase, and he would go on buy other smaller-market houses, and to feature day-of-release showings.

The Palace was both repaired/reopened following the 2010 tornado and recently converted to digital projection with a great deal of community support. However, the Reynolds have been withdrawing from the industry, and have been challenged in continuing to operate at a profit while servicing remaining debt from the repairs and digital updating. They have accordingly listed the Palace for sale (as well as the Garden in Canton).

It is a tremendous challenge to operate a small-town single-screen moviehouse in 2015, particularly as the major studios ratchet up terms of pricing and audience size. I recall predictions from a few years ago that the conversion to digital would ease movie availabilities and costs, with the need for producing, transporting and handling film prints eliminated, but sadly this seems not the case. The studios seem to be more out for the almighty dollar than ever.

We recently had a presentation by a manager at the Chillicothe 2-screener, which a civic group purchased from Reynolds a few years ago and operates on a not-for-profit basis to benefit youth organizations, as we in Elmwood assess the future for the Palace. He detailed the aforementioned challenges.

SethG on March 31, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Theater is closed. Foreclosure sale took place in January ‘16.

elmwoodpalacetheater on April 11, 2016 at 10:48 am

The Elmwood Palace Theater is OPEN. It was purchased in January of 2016 and has been showing films since. The theater is most definitely open! The new website is: Please update the listing!

SethG on March 31, 2022 at 8:37 am

Looking through my pictures, I just noticed the little stone up at the top. I can’t quite make it out, but it looks like it might say ‘Cafe of Light’ with a ‘191x’ under it. Strangely, it doesn’t show up on the one older photo we have, which also shows the brick to be light with dark spots. Maybe that was a veneer? Was the roofline lowered before the tornado, or because of it.

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