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Washington Theatre

Granite City IL

Demolished 1993
Record #10348  
 Opened: 1923
 Closed: 1982
 Demolished: 1993
Capacity: 1780 seats
Architect(s):
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.

Designed by R. Levine and Company of Chicago and run by Louis Landau Jr., the new Washington had a capacity of 1,780. The exterior was modernized after a 1946 fire, and the original Barton organ was sent to nearby Greenville College (its GPA is unknown). After the theatre's demolition, a bus depot was built on the site in 1993.

And from Tim Morrison:

I can recall some vague details about the theatre itself. The sign out front was, of course, neon; the ticket booth was outside. Walking through the front entrance, the concession stand was to the right. There were comfortable lounge seats to the left with the walls decorated with posters of coming attractions. Continuing inside, to the opposite end of the lobby, was another series of coming attractions posters with, if I recall, the restrooms on either side. Turning left, you would enter the auditorium. There were no doors; it was all open. I don't recall much about the auditorium and only vaguely remember the organ; it seemed to only be brought out for special occasions. I wish I could recall more specific details, such as decor. I seem to remember there being a balcony entrance, but it was always roped off. I'm not going to trust my memory on that detail, however.

On shopping trips to downtown Granite City with my mother, we always had to walk by the Washington Theatre so I could see what was playing and look at the lobby cards.

I remember it being the sort of theatre that tended to play child- and family-oriented fare; it was the sort of place where parents could drop off their kids for the afternoon. My siblings and I often went on Saturdays and Sundays to see mainly Disney movies, and they were almost always double features. I seem to recall seeing one or two James Bond movies there as well.

I don't mean to say that the theatre showed only kiddie movies, though. I distinctly remember when Jaws and The Omen played there. My parents went to see Deliverance there, and it's where I saw Halloween.

I can say with 100% certainty that the theatre was open past 1977, the year listed on your site. As I mentioned, I saw Halloween there, released in 1978. I also saw Love at First Bite (1979) and The Black Hole (1979) there and definitely remember seeing the poster display for The Shining (1980). Unfortunately I do not know the exact year it closed. It couldn't have been much beyond 1980; by this time, I was seeing more movies at the Nameoki Theatre (still open), as it was closer to where we lived at the time.

After its run as a movie theatre, there was a short-lived effort to keep it going as a rental space for dances and special events, but I don't think that lasted very long.



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Last featured 6/25/2003. Last edited 8/17/2010.

 
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