Wood River Theatre

113 N. Wood River Avenue,
Wood River, IL 62095

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Wood River Theatre

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 21, 2007 at 4:57 am

The Wood River Theatre opened in 1932 and closed in 1961.

kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Here is a March 1940 ad from the Alton Evening Telegraph:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The May 20, 1968, issue of Boxoffice ran an item about the planned construction of a new, 1000-seat theater in Wood River, to be called the Wood River Cinema and to be located on Edwardsville Road. It was a project of Cinema Systems, Inc.. But the item also included the following information: “The old Wood River Theatre, converted in the early 1960s to a shopping center and cocktail lounge, burned to the ground in January 1966. It had been built in 1917….”

Judging from the style of the Wood River Theatre building as depicted in the painting Bryan Krefft linked to above, I’d say 1917 is apt be the correct opening year. That sort of tapestry brick and terra cotta trim was long out of fashion by 1932. The marquee in the painting certainly looks like something that could have been put up in 1932, but a February 4, 1939, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre had reopened after a complete remodeling, so that might be a more likely date for the installation of the spiffy moderne marquee.

An August 21, 1954, Boxoffice item said that the Wood River Theatre was being fitted for CinemaScope. The house was then being operated by the Publix Great States circuit.

As for the proposed Wood River Cinema, after a few more items in Boxoffice late in 1968, reporting that plans had been completed, the name never appears in the magazine again that I can find. Most likely the project never got built.

Chris1982 on June 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

The Wood River Theatre was listed as open in 1930 and seated 1072.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I don’t know what became of Bryan Krefft’s comment with a link to a painting f the Wood River Theatre, but I did find a photo of the entrance of the house on this web page which also has photos of four other hardtop houses and two drive-ins in Madison County, as well as a big collection of transcribed newspaper items about them.

The marquee of the theater in the photo (dated 1936) says WOODRIVER as all one word. I also found on another web site an October 14, 1929, newspaper item that called the house the Woodriver Theatre, so that might have been how the name was styled in the theater’s earlier years.

MitchWolf on November 1, 2018 at 10:15 am

The listed location is currently the city hall

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