57 W. Monroe Street,
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One of the more modestly-sized Loop theaters, seating 950, the Monroe Theater’s history goes back to 1900 when the Inter-Ocean Building was constructed on the site of the Columbia Theater, which had been destroyed in a fire. In 1919, the Inter-Ocean Building was converted into a theater, which was originally operated by showman William S. Barbee and called Barbee’s Loop Theater, also known as just Barbee’s Theater.
When Barbee tried to have a stage built in the theater, the city prevented it, because of the lack of enough emergency exits.
In 1923, the theater was reopened under new management as the Monroe Theater. In the 1930’s or 1940’s, the entrance and interior to the building was given an Art Deco style makeover.
By the 1950’s, it was showing B-grade sci-fi and horror films. In the early-1960’s, the theater started to add adult films to its mix of programming.
The Monroe Theater closed by the late-1970’s and was demolished not long after. Part of the Xerox Center is located on the site of the Monroe Theater today.
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