119 N. Vermillion Street,
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The Majestic Theatre first opened July 29, 1907 presenting ‘High Class Family Vaudeville’. It was rebuilt in 1921, with a seating capacity for 915, but closed in 1927.
The Majestic Theatre was reopened on May 9th 1936 with Frances Farmer in “Too Many Parents”. It was operated by Publix. The Majestic Theatre was closed in May 1955, and the building was condemned as being unsafe.
In the late-1960’s it was taken over by Robert Norris and was reopened, with plans to renovate the building, but these plans came to nothing, and the theatre closed again.
It was taken over by the Kerasotes Theatres chain, and was renovated and restored, reopening on December 25, 1968. On October 10, 1980, an adjacent former funeral home was converted into a second screen. Closed again on October 1, 1995, it was slated for demolition. In 1997, it was purchased by Tim Burke, and in November 1998 it reopened screening Classic movies in both screens. There was a covenant placed on the theatre by Kerasotes forbidding the screening of first run movies for a 10-year period. The theatre went into use as a concert venue from February 2002.
It was taken over by Kyle Mitchell in an arrangement with Tim Burke and Kyle invested to bring the theatre up to first-run condition. It became a first-run movie theatre from May 2007. After two years Kyle was requested to leave the building, which he quietly did despite his love of the theatre and the huge investment he had made. It was taken back by Tim Burke who took on Katie Troccolli and the Majestic Theatre was reopened two weeks later. Funding was sourced over two years via donations from the public to purchase digital projectors, with conversion to digital achieved in June 2014. Shortly afterwards, Katie was forced out of the building in August 2014. Tim Burk immediately boarded the building and put the theatre up ‘For Sale’ at an exorbitant price, and he stopped making building payments. The building was foreclosed and was sold at auction in August 2015, with the bank taking ownership of the property. Sadly, during the time since it was closed, the building has been stripped of many of its fittings and the digital projectors have ‘disappeared’. There is a substantial amount of water damage inside the building as no maintenance has been carried out.
This 500-seat Art Deco style theatre certainly lived up to its name, especially its impressive neon-and-lightbulb lit marquee, and was one of the jewels of downtown Streator. Sadly, its future is very uncertain.
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