250-254 N. Main Street,
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Designed by architect George H. Kennerly, this opened on April 12, 1909 as an opera house and meeting hall for the International Order of Oddfellows (on the second floor). The Wildey Theatre was named for Thomas Wildey, who brought the group from England to the US in the early-19th century. It is located in downtown Edwardsville, on Main Street. In addition to opera and Oddfellows gatherings, the Wildey Theatre featured concerts, legitimate theatre, and, later, movies (which the theatre would eventually switch over to completely).
In 1937, the quaint Victorian-style original decor was considered passe, and the theater was remodeled in an Art Deco style, including a new marquee. During its final years as a movie theatre, under the Plitt Theatres chain, the Wildey Theatre was a bargain house, with 99 cent tickets. Its last film was “The Big Chill” on March 8, 1984.
After sitting vacant for many years, the Wildey Theatre renovations began in 2009, to the plans of architectural firm Trivers Associates in association with local firm Henderson Architects. It will be used as a multipurpose venue, including performing arts, theatre and classic movies. The State of Illinois allocated about $300,000 towards the Wildey’s renaissance.
The Wildey Theatre was reopened on Aprile 12, 2011, the 102nd anniversary of its grand opening.
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