Palace Theater

437 Main Street,
Peoria, IL 61602

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PALACE Theatre; Peoria, Illinois.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Palace Theatre opened on January 6, 1921, and was built and owned by William Hull. It was at one time the best known of the many theaters which once stood in downtown Peoria.

The vaudeville house was remodeled in 1929 into a movie palace. It was remodeled again in 1936 to the plans of architect William L. Pereira. It also played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment of the era, including Burns & Allen, Duke Ellington, and Ozzie and Harriet. The saying "If it’ll play Peoria" meant that if you were a hit here, you were on your way to the big time.

The theatre was sold to Publix Great States chain in 1963 and the exterior was given a facelift and in 1974, Plitt Theatres took over Publix. The theater closed in 1980, and was torn down, along with several other historic structures, to make way for the Twin Towers Place development.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

Patsy on March 31, 2010 at 2:58 pm

ken mc: Thanks for the photo of a once magnificant interior!

JudithK on May 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

My grandparents lived in Peoria, IL which was a first-run theatre town. Thus we were able to see films well ahead of their release in our town at the Palace and the Madison Theatres. At this point my memory is fuzzy separating the two but I do remember the wide sight lines, excellent projection, air conditioning and sound, and lovely lobbies. The years when I visited the two theatres were approximately 1961-1975.

TLSLOEWS on May 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

But will it play in Peoria???Nice interior photo.

rivest266 on May 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

This opened as an Ascher’s theatre according to the sign of the theatre.

jackiskin on August 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

i loved the palace..last movie i saw there was ..the jerk

Broan on January 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

J.E.O. Pridmore should be listed as architect. The interior somewhat resembled Pridmore’s Vic Theatre.

KelliL on March 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I wish it was like this again down there.

Mark on August 28, 2013 at 3:25 am

Everybody keeps saying some guy by the name of Heinz tore down the Palace. That’s not the right name. The name you’re looking for is developer Ray Becker. I know this to be true because my dad was working for Becker Bros. Construction at the time. He even tried to convince Ray that tearing down the Palace was a crime. Ray lives at the top of one of the twin towers to this very day.

DavidZornig on August 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm

1966 photo added, photo credit Peoria Public Library. Partial marquee photo.

gaijin on August 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Have very fond memories of this theater. I was 20 when I first came to Peoria and saw many movies there. The best and most memorable was “Star Wars”. I saw it opening night, at the first showing. We got into the theater just as the balcony was being opened and we got the center sits in the front row; put us dead center to the screen.

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