104 N. State Street,
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Previously operated by: Hainline Circuit
Previous Names: Cinematix 770, Dollarodeon, Apollo Activity Center
As evidenced by this recent photo, the Apollo Theatre (and its surroundings) is in bad shape, but reportedly on the rebound. Along with the theater, the downtown area of Belvidere was designated an Illinois Main Street Community project in 1996 and funds have been allocated to restore the city and the theater. It’s clearly coming along slowly, but the old theater, which opened in 1921 went over to X-rated films in 1971 and was re-named Cinematix 770 and from 1974 was known as the Dollarodeon (a play on words of the old nickelodeons) showing regular movies for a dollar.
Megan Sawchuk of Belvidere Illinois writes as of 9/11/02, “The picture provided for this theater shows construction in front of it, but it is not for the theater. The bridge over the Kishwaukee river is right next to it and it was being rebuilt.
“Actually, the area around the theater and the theater itself are not in bad shape. In fact the theater and the bridge are finished. Although, the theater is no longer a theater. It’s quite sad, but somebody bought the building and turned it into a Mexican dance club.
“It still has the marquee sign out front, but it just says ‘Apollo’ in big letters. All of the original furnishings have been discarded. This includes the original curtains, which were really something nice, and all of the seats.
“[The theater] never looked as shabby as it does in that picture. I used to work across the street from there and i was there during the construction on the bridge. There is also a mural on the wall that is on the right side of the picture. It’s a Mexican heritage mural.
“It’s a shame that none of the integrity could be salvaged in this building.” It now is now in use as a banquet hall known as the Apollo Activity Center.
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