325 Park Central East,
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The Gillioz Theatre was built by M.E. Gillioz in 1926 for the sum of $300,000. When it opened on October 11, 1926, it was the largest movie palace in southwestern Missouri until the Fox Theatre in Joplin opened in 1932, also built by Gillioz. The opening film was Reginald Denny in “Take It From Me”. The ‘Singing Organist’ Glenn Stanbach opened the Wurlitzer organ.
The Gillioz remained open as a movie theater until 1979, when the Gillioz, already beginning to deteriorate, closedseemingly forever. Legal wrangling kept the theater dormant for years but it was finally places on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Finally in 1991, the dust settled when the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust bought the beleaguered theater. Over the past decade, the theater has been raising money and finalizing its plans to return as an entertainment mecca for the city of Springfield.
A $2.6 million restoration project to restore the theater and incorporate it into the planned Jim D. Morris Arts Center was completed in 2006, when the Gillioz reopened in October of that year.
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