Photo from the Darren Snow collection
200-06 E Second St|
|Record #10078 |
Closed: October 28, 1937
Current Organ: none
| Also Known As: |
Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.
OPENED: 1888. CLOSED: 10/28/37; "There Goes My Girl" and "The Go-Getter."
The Western Star Lodge of the I.O.O.F. built its temple around 1888, including a theatre that was about the size of the American in St. Louis. The first year the Alton directory had a "Theatre" listing was 1906, and the Temple was right there. The Alton Telegraph claims that the Temple ran Alton’s first "talking picture" in 1913, a decade and a half before "The Jazz Singer." The theatre was billed as the best equipped in the state south of Chicago. It was run by W.M. Sauvage (see listing for Grand Theater) from 1906-19, then by Albert Critchlow and a partner named Winans (see Roxana in Roxana IL) from at least 1924 until the theatre’s closing in 1937.
At 11:45 on October 28 of that year, a fire -- the second in the building in ten days -- broke out in the basement. Critchlow told the Telegraph that the theatre itself was unscathed, but the damaged floor of the lobby would prevent entry for at least a day or two. Beset by conflagrations and competition from two new theatres in town, the management elected not to reopen the picture show at all.
The theatre was torn out of the building after a 1941 fire, and the empty shell where it had been remained for years. Many businesses occupied the Temple Building after that, including the Powder Puff Beauty Salon. The building was damaged by yet another fire, condemned by the city, and demolished in 1976.
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Last featured 3/15/2004. Last edited 3/26/2017.