Gillioz Theatre

325 Park Central E,
Springfield, MO 65806

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Gillioz Theatre

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 Theatre remained open as a movie theater until 1979, when the Gillioz Theatre, already beginning to deteriorate, closed-seemingly forever. Legal wrangling kept the theatre dormant for years but it was finally placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Finally in 1991, the dust settled when the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust bought the beleaguered theatre. Over the past decade, the theatre 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 theatre and incorporate it into the planned Jim D. Morris Arts Center was completed in 2006, when the Gillioz Theatre reopened in October of that year.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on February 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I recently saw To Kill A Mockingbird here. Average crowd, original 35mm print but it got the support from local business that most area repretory shows fail to get.

JimS1
JimS1 on February 2, 2009 at 5:14 am

Glad to hear that the management at the Gillioz will continue to schedule movies. I always loved that theatre. I believe the last movie I saw there was the 1976 KING KONG!! I was home for Christmas and took my niece and nephew Christmas afternoon. I need to come back home sometime and attend a movie, stage play or concert just so I can see the theatre again. Friends who attended the last SMSU Tent Theatre reunion took a tour of the Gillioz last year. They were impressed.

KarenDaniels
KarenDaniels on March 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

Does anyone have access to historic photos of this theatre that they could share off site? If so please contact me, I am working on a landmarks of Route 66 exhibit and would like to include the theatre.

Thanks

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

The theater recently hired a new executive director. The story is here: View link

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on December 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm

The theatre may be foreclosed on due to a $3.5 million debt. However, there is a campaign to save the theatre.

View link

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on December 15, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Just following comments. Thanks!

rivest266
rivest266 on July 15, 2017 at 10:19 am

Grand opening ad at

Found on Newspapers.com

Still open as of the time of this post as a live venue

moviejs1944
moviejs1944 on February 15, 2018 at 4:57 am

Saw several movies here in the 50s. Had a long, skinny lobby opening into what seemed like (to a kid) a gigantic auditorium. Quite plush. In case you’re wondering how the theaters name is pronounced, it’s “GILL – oyz” – rhymes with “toys.” The pronunciation may have been different long ago when it opened, but the locals say “GILL – oyz” these days.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

1938 photo added. Photo and additional history credit the Vintage St. Louis & Route 66 Facebook page.

October 11, 1926 – The “Glorious Gillioz” Theater in Springfield, Missouri opened. M.E. Gillioz couldn’t find a location on Route 66 for his theater, so he bought property one block to the north, leased a 20 foot wide frontage on St. Louis Street and linked it to the theater 130 feet away. The 1,100 seat theater, where Elvis Presley watched a movie before his 1956 concert, closed in 1980 but was restored in 2006.

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