Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse

1826 3rd Avenue,
Rock Island, IL 61201

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Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse

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The Fort Theatre, also known as the Fort Armstrong Theatre, is another classic theatre that started off with silent pictures/vaudeville and then switched exclusively to movies. It opened on January 19, 1921 with 1,800 seats.

The theatre was decorated with a Western theme that was in keeping with its pioneer past, including teepee chandeliers.

In the late-1970’s, Dennis Hitchcock purchased the theatre, terraced the main floor, installed tables, and renamed it the ‘Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse’. Mr. Hitchcock otherwise left the theatre’s color and style as they were.

While the main floor has a small entrance and lobby, there is a large lounge on the 2nd floor.

Contributed by Mike Geater

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

MikeGeater on October 8, 2001 at 11:54 pm

The Fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 31, 2004 at 1:09 am

Opened in 1921, the Fort Armstrong Theater was designed by architect Benjimin Horn of the Cervin & Horn practice, associate architect was W.T. Braun. The architectural style is Native Indian and it had a seating capacity of 1623.

TomBarrister on September 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I have some memories of this place. This was THE main theater in the Quad Cities. It was strictly first-run. It also had a hotel, which was built a few years after the theater. The Showcase Cinemas in Milan relegated the Fort to lesser status. Had it not been for David Hitchcock, it probably wouldn’t exist today. He turned it into Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse in 1976. The hotel is now a senior citizen apartment building.

DavidZornig on May 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm

1925 photo added courtesy of the Retro Quad Cities Facebook page.

DavidZornig on July 11, 2017 at 2:13 am

1921 photo added courtesy of the Retro Quad Cities Facebook page.

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