21-29 S. Capitol Street,
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Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp.
Architects: Elmer F. Behrns
Previous Names: Dollarodeon
Located on the corner of S. Capitol Street and Elizabeth Street, which had been the site of the Capitol Theatre. The Pekin Theatre was opened on November 27, 1928 with Alice White in “The Show Girl”. It continued the striking style of architect Elmer Behrns (the Egyptian Theatre in Dekalb, Illinois and the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois). The interior décor was in an Oriental style including ancient Chinese pagoda’s and Chinese goddess figure’s. Similar to other theatres of the late-1920’s, the ceiling “stars” delivered the Atmospheric style to compliment the Oriental style décor. It was designed with an elaborate fully equipped stage for vaudeville productions, but it soon became a movies only theatre. The Pekin Theatre was equipped with a Hinners 3 manual 11 ranks organ, the largest and one of only three ever made by Hinners. In 1937 it was taken over by the Publix-Great States Theatres chain.
The organ was removed in 1970. On October 10, 1975 it was renamed Dollarodeon and was closed in 1977. Efforts were made to convert it into a dinner theatre, then a medical building or a civic center by the Citizens for Historic Preservation, but all efforts were unsuccessful. The building, which included the theatre, office space and eight apartments was demolished seven years later, with demolition completed on March 11, 1987.
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