Massac Theatre

119 W. Fifth Street,
Metropolis, IL 62960

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cluster Circuit

Architects: Oliver William Steigemeyer

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater

Massac Theatre

The Massac Theatre, located in downtown Metropolis, has been closed for years. Further information on this Moderne style theater would be appreciated.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

According to a report in Boxoffice of July 23, 1938, the general contractor for the Massac Theatre, Ed Barenfanger of Salem, Illinois, expected that the theater could be opened by late August or early September. There is today a Barenfanger Construction Company operating in Vandalia, Illinois. I wonder if it could be the successor firm of Ed Barenfanger’s operation and, if so, they might have old records about the Massac project?

I’ve been unable to find any mention in Boxoffice of the name of the architect of the Massac, but this web log post by Michael R. Allen, about the Merry Widow Theatre in St. Louis, points out the similarity between that house and the Massac, pictured in this web log post about the latter theater by the same author. Could the 1938 Massac have been designed by St. Louis architect Jack Shawcross, who designed the New Merry Widow a few years later?

armyarch on April 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

The Massac Theater made the Landmarks Illinois 10 Most Endangered Historic Places List:

CSWalczak on June 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm

A story about the efforts to restore this theater: View link

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on March 4, 2011 at 10:07 am

From Metropolis an undated postcard view of the Massac Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

The URLs have been changed for the weblog posts by Michael Allen that I linked to in my previous comment:

Post about the New Merry Widow Theatre in St. Louis.

Post about the Massac Theatre.

I’m still trying to track down any confirmation of the surmise that Jack Shawcross was the architect of the Massac Theatre, but so far no luck.

BrowncoatKal on July 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Hi I am a member of a Facebook group dedicated to saving the Massac Theater. We are trying to raise money to save the theater and bring it back to its former glory. The theater is in Metropolis, Il which is the official home of Superman. There is an official Superman Celebration the second weekend in June every year. Our goal is to try and raise enough money to have the theater renovated and open for the premier of the new Superman movie which is premiering on June 14, 2013. Please feel free to visit and “like” our page. Wee need all the help we can get. Thanks.

Lisagower on July 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

According to the original newspaper article in the local Metropolis paper, the list of contractors are: Designing architect – O W Steigemeyer of St. Louis Contractor & Supervising Architect – E H Barenfanger of Salem, IL Interior Decorator – Archie Bethel of Mount Carmel, IL Air Conditioning by Betz Air Conditioning Corp, Kansas City Brick and Stone work – Barfield & Sons, Metropolis Concrete – Odis Oaks – Metropolis Roof & Metal – W. C. Scott – Metropolis Plumbing – Louis Laveau – Metropolis Electrical Wiring – Orval Conley – Metropolis

The Theatre had 542 seats on the main floor and 185 seats in the balcony. It also had a stage as well as the movie screen and hosted bluegrass bands, radio station grand openings, different traveling acts and even a cooking show.

They were very proud of the seats and the air conditioning system. Both were state of the art.

Johnmm on May 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm

The theatre is Being restored By is new Owner

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

The correct spelling of the name of the architect of the Massac Theatre is Oliver W. Stiegemeyer, which is the way it is spelled in the 1956 and 1962 editions of the AIA’s American Architects Directory.

stormdog on January 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I shot some photographs of the Massac Theater while on a road trip through Southern Illinois this past Summer. Here’s a link to the first one in my Flickr photostream.

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