305 South Avenue,
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When the Leonard Hardware Company closed at this location in 1906, the Majestic Amusement Company retrofitted the space for its new Majestic Theatre. It launched May 22, 1907 purportedly as the first full-time movie theatre (and illustrated songs) in Springfield. It was led by Captain Peabody who would lead the Gem Theatre and, finally, the Peoples Theatre in a show business career spanning the 1870’s to his death in 1914. In 1908, he boasted of talking and singing movies and said he would move a few doors down and across the street to 322 South at the former Lovan Carriage location.
On September 7, 1909, the Aladdin Theatre began its run here with the Chronograph and films including, “The Talk of New York” and “Forty-Five Miles From Boston” along with Wright Brothers airplane footage. A year later, operators Horace M. Thomas and N.J. Cunningham spent $4,500 improving the Aladdin.
The new-look Aladdin Theatre proved more successful than the Majestic Theatre which would close on May 30, 1911. Thomas sold the Aladdin Theatre to one of the Springfield’s pioneering showman in S.E. Wilhoit. Wilhoit moved on in the theatre business from the Aladdin building the Princess Theatre and taking on both the Landers Theatre and Jefferson Theatre. A final operator took on the Aladdin Theatre closing it on December 23, 1917 with Charlie Chaplin in “Charles' First Vacation".
A month later, a bankruptcy proceeding took place in the theatre and the equipment including the Chronograph was removed. The building would soon be converted back to retail and house a book store.
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