Palace Theatre

122 W. Main Street,
Elmwood, IL 61529

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Palace Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Palace Theatre opened in 1913, as a vaudeville theatre, and later switched over to movies. It was wired for sound in 1930.

In 1935, it was purchased by Ed & Vivian Hahn on their wedding day. They operated it until September 17, 1979, when it was purchased by Vern & Christine Reynolds. Vern Reynolds is the sole current operator, operating as Reynolds Theatres. The theatre has been beautifully restored and renovated to its original appearance. A next-door barber shop was converted into a larger concession area.

The Palace Theatre contains its original tin ceiling and features a 75 seat balcony, with seating for 300 on the main floor.

On June 5, 2010, the town and theatre was hit by a tornado and is in the process of being restored. The theatre will seat on the main floor 234, and the balcony will be reduced to 45 seats. It reopened June 1, 2011.

This rare single-screen movie house is one of the gems of charming downtown Elmwood.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on June 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I hope the roof can be easily repaired though the article said that a 30 foot hole had been ripped in the roof of this original rare single screen cinema that is “one of the gems of charming downtown Elmwood”. If anyone lives in or near Elmwood, please let us know.

Patsy
Patsy on June 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Though Lost Memory is no longer a CT member, I wish to thank him for the photos he posted in 2008 of this theatre with a now damaged roof. I wish the Palace well and hope that it is able to reopen in the very near future!

Patsy
Patsy on June 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I just send the Palace Theatre an email that reads:

“All of us on the theatre internet site, Cinema Treasures wishes the historical Palace Theatre the very best after being damaged from a recent tornado on June 5, 2010.”

Patsy
Patsy on June 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Chuck: I agree, but in the meantime I thought an email of concern would show our support during their time of upheaval.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 8, 2010 at 2:08 am

Peoria is the largest city in the country? Who would have guessed? 8-)

Patsy
Patsy on June 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Chuck: I wondered about the word “country” vs “county”! None the less, I hope that the Palace is able to make their roof remains and get back to normal operations soon!

adm22
adm22 on January 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

They are still closed website says they maye soon reopne and have a poll question asking if they do if people will be willing to pay $4 for a ticket. I used to go there on occasion nice theatre.

adm22
adm22 on August 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

The local shopper paper that came in the post today has an ad from them saying theyare now opening and running the movie Zookeeper- whihc starts today.

A few months back they had an ad saying they were looking for people to sponsor seats. I was not sure what had happened to them until that point. They are about 30 miles from me and I am at the northern end of the area the paper services, they are at the southern end. Their ads stopped last summer adn were replaced by ones for a theatre another 30 miles further south for awhile.

Gald to see they are back open. I used to go there a couple fo times a year when they were open.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on April 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Theater is open and showing movies when I went by for photos yesterday (4-11-2015).

berniebarton
berniebarton on June 17, 2015 at 9:55 pm

One glitch with the historical report; the Hahns operated until 1979, not 1997. The Palace was at that time the Reynolds' first moviehouse purchase, and he would go on buy other smaller-market houses, and to feature day-of-release showings.

The Palace was both repaired/reopened following the 2010 tornado and recently converted to digital projection with a great deal of community support. However, the Reynolds have been withdrawing from the industry, and have been challenged in continuing to operate at a profit while servicing remaining debt from the repairs and digital updating. They have accordingly listed the Palace for sale (as well as the Garden in Canton).

It is a tremendous challenge to operate a small-town single-screen moviehouse in 2015, particularly as the major studios ratchet up terms of pricing and audience size. I recall predictions from a few years ago that the conversion to digital would ease movie availabilities and costs, with the need for producing, transporting and handling film prints eliminated, but sadly this seems not the case. The studios seem to be more out for the almighty dollar than ever.

We recently had a presentation by a manager at the Chillicothe 2-screener, which a civic group purchased from Reynolds a few years ago and operates on a not-for-profit basis to benefit youth organizations, as we in Elmwood assess the future for the Palace. He detailed the aforementioned challenges.

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