Cinema Art Theatre

613 E. Washington Street,
Springfield, IL 62701

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Cinema Art Theatre

Opened in around 1910 as the Capitol Theatre. On December 2, 1937 it was reopened as the State Theatre remaining as such into the 1950’s when it closed.

Following a remodel it re-opened in May 1971 as the Cinema Art Theatre and was screening adult porn movies. It was closed by spring of 1986 and has since been demolished for the site to be used as a parking lot.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

The April 5, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World mentioned a “Capital” Theatre on East Washington Street in Springfield. The owners, I. Burnstine and Joseph Shepard, were planning to open a new theater at 111 N. Sixth Street. Perhaps that was the house that was opened that year as the Amuse U Theatre, which we list at 115 N.Sixth.

rivest266 on July 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

December 2nd, 1937 grand opening ad as State in photo section.

DavidZornig on August 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Overhead view of the State added, lower L/H corner. 1960’s photo credit Springfield Rewind facebook page.

DavidZornig on June 6, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Circa 1910 photo as The Capitol Theatre added courtesy Paul Durako‎.

BillJunior on January 9, 2021 at 1:39 pm

According to news articles, the State Theater was re-modeled 1970-71 by American Amusement Co. of Michigan. It re-opened as “Cinema Art” in May 1971 with the Italian-produced picture, “La cintura di castità” (A.K.A. “On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who…”). The theater was supposed to show films with “appeal to college students”, as quoted by an American Amusement executive at the time. This came to fruition owing to the fact that local rock bands used the “600 seat theater” for showcase purposes, per reports of the era.

By June 1971, “Cinema Art” was showing X-rated content and that led to a ruling (in December) that their manager was guilty of obscenity. In 1972, another suit was filed for obscenity and again in 1974, the cinema’s manager was involved in another accusation they “knowingly showed an obscene film”.

Local news also shows the movie theater had a softball league. Sports pages (from May 1975) show a game that pitted Cinema’s team against the First Assembly of God Church. By the spring of 1986, “Cinema Art” closed as video sales of its regularly-screened content put an irreversible dent into their business.

The block was re-developed in 2004-2005 for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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