Clarke Theater

1809 Broadway,
Mattoon, IL 61938

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Clarke Theater, Mattoon, IL (Little Mexico Cantina & Grill)

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Edward Clarke (who operated the theater in partnership with Dominic Frisina and Antonio Bianchi) built the Clarke Theater in 1936 in the old Bijou Theater space. The Bijou Theater dated back to the early years of the 20th century. Clarke also owned the Time Theatre (built on the site of the Grand Theatre) and the Mattoon Theatre.

After the Clarke Theater’s closing in the 1960’s, the building was heavily remodeled, and it became home to the Upchurch Group, an architectural and engineering firm. With the Upchurch Group’s recent departure from the building, there are currently plans to convert the Upchurch Building into a restaurant.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JAlex
JAlex on September 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

1936 redo credited to architect Bruce F. Barnes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

The Clarke Theatre appears to have been new construction in 1936, though it’s possible that the side walls were common walls shared with the adjacent buildings (often the case in old business districts of small towns) and thus would have belonged to both the Bijou and the Clarke. Everything else was probably new, though. Here’s an item from the May 2, 1936, issue of The Film Daily:

“St. Louis — Bids will be taken May 8 by the Mattoon Theater Co., Mattoon, Ill., for the 800-seat theater to be built there, and on May 15 bids will be taken for the house to be erected by Lyric Theater Co., Salem, Mo. Bruce F. Barnes, St. Louis architect, figured in the plans for both houses.”
A timeline of Mattoon’s theaters on this web page says that the second Bijou Theatre opened in 1910. The first Bijou operated from 1905 to 1908. I’ve been unable to discover if the first and second Bijous were on the same or different sites.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 5, 2012 at 3:55 am

The March 21, 1908 edition of The Billboard lists a Bijou Theatre, S. 17th Street & Broadway Avenue. Managed by Ira Seybert, it had 250 seats, and evening shows.

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