325 Park Central E,
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Gillioz Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres, Fox Midwest Theatres
Architects: Eugene S. Johnson, Larry P. Larsen, Albert C. Maack
Firms: Johnson & Maack, United Studios, Inc.
Functions: Concerts, Live Performances, Movies (Classic), Special Events
Styles: Spanish Colonial
News About This Theater
- Mar 2, 2010 — Happy 45th, "The Sound Of Music"
- Mar 30, 2007 — Preserve Me a Seat To Show in Springfield, Missouri, Friday Night
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.
In May 1948 it was taken over by Fox-Midwest Theatres. 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.
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Recent comments (view all 33 comments)
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.
The theater recently hired a new executive director. The story is here: View link
The theatre may be foreclosed on due to a $3.5 million debt. However, there is a campaign to save the theatre.
Just following comments. Thanks!
Grand opening ad at
Found on Newspapers.com
Still open as of the time of this post as a live venue
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.
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.
Boxoffice, May 8, 1948: “SPRINGFIELD, MO.— The Gillioz Theatre here has been sold by Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Gillioz of Monett to the Missouri-Fox Realty Corp. of Kansas City, a subsidiary of Fox Midwest Theatres. Purchase price was $105,000. Equipment was sold in a separate transaction. Built in 1924, the house has been leased for some years by the new owners.”
Grand opening ad: Gillioz theatre opening 10 Oct 1926, Sun Springfield Leader and Press (Springfield, Missouri) Newspapers.com