107 NE Madison Avenue,
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Opened in 1920, for local businessman Dee Robinson, the Madison Theatre was designed by Frederic J. Klein. Klein also designed Rockford’s huge Coronado Theatre seven years later.
Designed with an Italian Renaissance exterior and Neo-Classical style interior, the Madison Theatre originally hosted both vaudeville acts and silent films, but switched to sound by the late 1920’s.
Robinson featured annual Christmas shows at the Madison for which children were admitted free of charge. After he died, the practice continued into the 50s.
The auditorium features a high domed ceiling with classical-inspired plasterwork decorating both the ceiling and side walls. The ceiling of the theater’s lobby is also domed, and its facade features extensive terra-cotta work, with a triple-arched window over the marquee.
In 1980, the Madison Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The last major movie palace built in Peoria, the stunningly restored Madison Theatre continued to draw crowds as a venue for rock concerts and other live acts untuil it closed in 2003. New owners have said they may restore the building, but by 2010, nothing has happened.
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