Idle Hour Theatre
117 E. Main Street,
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Functions: Beauty Salon
Previous Names: New Theatre
This early St. Charles movie house opened in 1914 as the New Theatre, located on East Main Street at the corner of Second Avenue. It was located in a building constructed in 1900. About a year after opening, a contest was held to rename the theater, and the name chosen was the Idle Hour. The auditorium seated 325, and in addition to silent films, there was live entertainment presented on stage as well.
In the early-1920’s, the Idle Hour was acquired by local businessman Lester Norris, who would open the nearby Arcada Theatre in 1926. After the Arcada Theatre was opened, Norris closed the Idle Hour Theatre. The last film shown there was Lon Chaney starring in "Road to Mandalay".
A sucession of businesses have been located in the former Idle Hour Theatre space since. Berry’s Barber Shop is currently located in what was once the main entrance of the Idle Hour Theatre.
Information obtained from the National Register of Historic Places (Aracada Theatre) and CATOE’s Arcada Theatre History.
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Any photos or more info out there.
My father along with his three partners purchased the Idle Hour Theater back in the late 60s. They painstakingly repurposed the space to house SSPF Architects and Idle Hour Development Co.. They managed to retain the character of the vaudville theater while adapting the space to satisfy their needs as Architects, Landscape Architects, Interior designers and local developers. This renovation project was published in local newspapers and magazines and heralded as a model of adaptive reuse at a time when it was popular to tear down and build new.