Paxton Majestic Theatre
133 South Market Street,
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Opened in 1913 as the Majestic, this was the town’s largest and most impressive theater when it opened, seating just over 350.
Its was designed by the firm of Mesar, Hunt and Sullivan for A.B. McCollum who owned a handful of area theaters at that time.
The Majestic Building contained not only the theater, but storefronts as well. Some of its interior plasterwork and metalwork was based upon that seen by the architects in a downtown Chicago theater.
The theater originally presented both vaudeville and concerts on its tiny stage, in addition to movies.
The last vaudeville act at the Majestic was in 1929. In 1930, the theater was wired for sound films, after being closed for about a year for remodeling. Also, when the theater reopened, it had a new name, the New Paxton Theatre (the original choice for the new name was the New Wonder Theatre, but changed at the last minute). A new marquee was also put up around this time.
Not long after the name change, another name change occured, this time as the Paxtonian Theatre.
In 1935, air-conditioning was installed and by this time, the theater was called simply the Paxton Theatre, the name it would continue to be known as for nearly five decades.
In the 50s, Cinemascope and Vistavision films played on the Paxton’s screen.
By the end of the 70s, however, business was falling off at the theater, despite blockbusters like "Rocky" and "Star Wars" having successful runs there.
Its new owner in 1983 attempted to lure in new patrons by remodeling the aging theater, installing new seating and restoring the marquee, but within a year, the Paxton was closed.
Four years later, the theater was reopened by the newly formed Paxton Majestic Theatre Group for legitimate theater. The group, besides renaming the theater once again, the Paxton Majestic, further restored the theater, and seating was reduced to 219.
For many years the Paxton Majestic hosted live performances, as well as children’s theater, dinner theater, and film screenings, but was closed in 2005. Sadly, the theater was burned to the ground in a blaze on November 13, 2007.
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