Peerless Theatre

115 N. Chestnut Street,
Kewanee, IL 61443

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Peerless theater kewanee

The Peerless Theatre was opened in 1921 and operated through to 1952. In the 1951 Film Daily Yearbook, the Peerless Theatre is listed as open and seating 896. It stood on N. Chestnut Street near 1st Street. The theatre has since been razed and a taxi service is now at this address.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

42ndStreetMemories on June 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Neville Brand grew up in Kewanee and must have attended this theater in the 30s before heading off to war

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm

The Peerless Theatre was mentioned in the July 1, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News. The owners had just opened a second house in Kewanee:

“THE opening of T. and W. Pierce’s new 375-seat Plaza Theatre at Kewanee, gives that city one of the model small theatres of the country. The house is of a Spanish atmospheric type of architecture, with all the equipment of a modern de luxe house. Messrs. Pierce will shortly remodel their 1,000-seat Peerless Theatre, a high-class house which was erected some two years ago. They plan to put in a 30-foot stage.”
I don’t know if the Plaza is missing from our listings or if it is a missing aka for the Kee Theatre.

By 1937, the Peerless Theatre was being operated by the Great States circuit. The July 17 issue of The Film Daily reported that the Peerless was one of six Great States houses in Illinois that would soon be equipped with new cooling systems.

AndrewBarrett on September 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm

It’s too bad that this theatre was demolished long ago.

According to ‘The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ", volume 2, by Mr. David Junchen, (pg 629), the “Peerless Th.” in Kewanee, Illinois, originally had a two-manual, ten-rank Seeburg – Smith theatre pipe organ, installed in 1921.

Ten ranks was quite large for a Smith organ, as most organs built by this succession of firms were between four and nine ranks; very few organs over 9 ranks were ever built by them.

The organ had a Kinetic blower, serial number J132, which had a 2 horsepower # and delivered wind at 10" static pressure.

Does anybody know what happened to this organ, and where it, or its parts, are today? Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm

The March 9, 1921, issue of The American Contractor said that the general contract had been let for the Peerless Theatre in Kewanee. The 68x150 foot building was to cost $150,000, and had been designed by Chicago architect Ralph C. Harris.

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