Dixon Opera House

114 S Galena Avenue,
Dixon, IL 61021

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Dixon Opera House

This theatre was located on the second floor of a large 3-story stone commercial block, which was opened in 1876. It originally had a large balcony facing a stage against the east wall, but both the upper floors of the building were destroyed by fire on June 23, 1903. A stage fly tower was constructed at the rear by 1912. This covered only ¾ of the back wall, but it’s unclear whether the opera house vacated the westernmost section, or whether this served as a lobby.

Entry may have been both from the front and from stairs on the west in the alley. By at least 1914-15, movies were being shown, and the theatre was listed in that year’s American Motion Picture Directory. The building was destroyed by fire on February 17, 1920, and the Dixon Theater (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures) was later built on the site.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

SethG on March 10, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Thanks to Ken Roe for providing some of this information.

SethG on March 10, 2022 at 6:06 pm

Seating information taken from the 1905 Cahn guide, so it may have been before the auditorium was restructured.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 11, 2022 at 1:03 am

Multiple sources say that the Dixon Opera House originally opened in 1876. The building suffered two major fires, the first of which, on June 23, 1903, destroyed both upper floors, so the original theater was effectively gone, which accounts for the reconfiguration after 1902. The 1905 Cahn guide seat count was thus post-rebuild. The upper floors were rebuilt, only for the entire building to be razed by the second fire, on February 17, 1920.

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