111 E. 5th Street,
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The Fowler Theatre opened on March 1, 1940. The Streamline Moderne style theater was located on 5th Street at Washington Avenue and originally could seat 442. The Fowler Theatre remained a popular movie-going destination for many decades until the theater’s declining condition caused it to close in early-2001.
A volunteer-based non-for-profit group called the Prairie Preservation Guild was founded with the intention of restoring the old theater and bringing it back to life again. The Fowler Theatre reopened in December 2001 and is today still fully volunteer operated. Seating has been reduced to 196. In addition to movies, the theater hosts ocassional live events on its stage.
The theater’s restoration and renovation are ongoing. The facade and marquee were restored in 2008. After closing for nearly six months of construction, the Fowler Theatre reopened July 16, 2012 with a revamped lobby. The lobby’s original Art Deco style ceiling frieze was restored. A new concessions area is flanked by original glass tube columns backlit with new blue and pink neon. New restrooms were also installed.
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