Illinois Theatre

126 S. Locust Street,
Centralia, IL 62801

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Illinois Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: B-A-C Theatres, Fox Midwest Theatres, Kerasotes Theatres

Architects: Rudolph Zersus Gill

Firms: Gill & Fath

Previous Names: Fox Illinois Theatre

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News About This Theater

Illinois Theatre

The Illinois Theatre, located on Locust Street, was opened on January 16, 1922. By the 1940’s it was operated by Fox Midwest Theatres. Frome the late-1970’s until the early-1990’s it was operated by BAC Theatres. Kerasotes Theatres then took over. After Kerasotes Theatres opened the Plaza 5 Theatres in Centralia they closed the Illinois Theatre in December 2001.

In the fall of 2004, Kerasotes donated the Illinois Theatre to the city of Centralia for future use as a live venue. Renovations to date include the relighting of the marquee and the interior of the entrance lobby.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

RaneyOnline on May 20, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Good Luck with the renovations. I hope you are able to open and find success. Hart Theater in Effingham and Plaza Theater in Mt.Vernon are also struggling. Maybe a special theater-owners group should be formed to share information with each other?

dabroots on June 9, 2007 at 12:22 pm

For a photo of the Illinois Theater that I snapped while visiting my hometown in late 2006, click

bodkin6071 on May 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Picture from February 1985:
View link

dschmeink on August 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Great news that the city preserved this theatre. The inside is impressive and was well-maintained. A diamond in the rough no doubt.

bodkin6071 on October 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Going back 31 years… the Illinois was showing the following:

6/28/85: The Goonies and Return To Oz 7/3/85: Back to the Future and The Emerald Forest 7/24/85/: Back to the Future and The Black Cauldron 8/2/85: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Heavenly Kid 8/9/85: Pale Rider and My Science Project 8/16/85: Return of the Living Dead and My Science Project 8/23/85: Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird and National Lampoon’s European Vacation 8/30/85: Summer Rental and Teen Wolf

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 30, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Konrad Schiecke’s Historic Movie Theatres in Illinois says that the Illinois Theatre opened in 1921.

From 1929 into the early 1940s, the Centralia Evening Sentinel usually refers to the house as the Fox Illinois Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Official opening date was January 16, 1922.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm

The American Contractor of March 26, 1921, carried a notice about a project that was probably the Illinois Theatre:

“Centralia, Ill.– Theater (MP) $50 000, 2 sty., 138x50, Centralia. Archt. Gill & Fat [sic], 1329A Walnut St., Murphysboro I11. Owner Hall & Griffin, Centralia. Gen. contr. let to MJ Heaton, Centralia. Owner & Gen. contr. taking bids on subs.”
The correct name of the architectural firm was Gill & Fath, who also designed the Rodgers Theatre at Carbondale and Marlow’s Theatre at Murphysboro. Rudolph Zerses Gill was a well-known architect in the region, and several of his buildings have been nominated to the NRHP. I’ve been unable to find any information about Mr. Fath.

bodkin6071 on April 28, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Some Historical Facts about the Illinois Theatre:

First opened in 1922 as a Vaudeville Theatre.

First movie house in town to show “Talkies” in 1925.

In 1976 BAC renovated the building in blue and silver at a cost of $250,00. It was also at this time the Illinois became a twin.

In 1980 Kerasotes bought the building and operated it as a movie theatre until December 2001.

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