96 S. Grove Avenue,
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The Crocker Theater was built in 1923, and was the largest theater at the time in Elgin. It showed silent films, and had up to three vaudeville acts each day. A Wurlitzer organ once accompanied the films, as well as popular sing-alongs before and after features. Among the celebrities to grace the stage of the Crocker Theater in its early days were Admiral Richard Byrd, sharing his polar adventures, and Gene Autry, the cowboy star.
The theater began showing sound films in 1929, but by the mid-1970’s, the theater had become a venue for Spanish-language films. It closed its doors in 1981 and has remained shuttered since.
Several schemes for its future came and went, including reopening it as a movie theater, converting it into a nightclub, and giving it over to mixed retail and residential use.
Since the Crocker Theater was acquired by the city of Elgin in 2000, it had not been able to come up with a concrete decision on the future of the theater, which was entirely gutted inside by its previous owner. In June 2005, the city had the Crocker Theater razed to make way for a condominium development project.
The Crocker Theater was never overly ornate, but built in a simple, Neo-Classical style, with a terra cotta facade, partially hidden behind a 1950’s vintage marquee.
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