Plaza Theatre

116 S. 9th Street,
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

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Plaza Theatre (Melody Shop), Mt. Vernon, IL

The Plaza Theatre opened in 1919, located on S. 9th Street. It was for many years the main movie house of Mount Vernon, until the Granada Theatre opened in the late-1930’s. The Plaza Theatre, known for its stylish marquee, was also the first movie theatre in the city to be air-conditioned.

The Plaza Theatre remained in operation until the mid-1950’s. The theatre was converted into office space during the 1970’s.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kingcityeditor
kingcityeditor on March 13, 2005 at 9:18 pm

The Plaza sat empty until the 1970s when it was converted to office space. The ceiling was dropped at that time, covering up the ornate tin ceiling. Later, it was used by the YMCA. When the YMCA relocated, Robin Hensley bought the building and begain restoring it in 2005. It will still be office space, but he plans on adding a second story above the drop ceiling and opening the drop ceiling in the middle so people can see the original ceiling from the floor. The projection booth is still in place along with a lot of old plumbing and other items. Above the drop ceiling, 50-year old graffit is still visible up high where there would have been balcony seats. Also uncovered during renovation was a badly deteriorated copy of Vol. 1, No. 1 Playboy.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 13, 2005 at 9:29 pm

The Plaza Theatre is shown in the Film Daily Yearbook’s, 1941 and 1943 as having 350 seats. It was operated at this period of time by Fox Midwest Amusement Corp. In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y a seating capacity is given as 772.

Broan
Broan on August 6, 2007 at 4:11 am

The correct address is 118 S. Ninth. It does not appear that much work has gone on since 2005. The lower half of the theater appears to be entirely gutted, but most everything above where the drop ceiling would have been is intact. The theater appears to have been quite narrow. Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ctid9989

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 26, 2008 at 9:58 pm

The Plaza’s screen was destroyed in a fire on January 1, 1934, according to the LA Times. Fourteen patrons were taken to a local hospital with burns.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2018 at 2:41 am

The Plaza Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1919, according to an article in the July 29, 1972, issue of the Mt. Vernon Register-News.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2018 at 3:54 am

Broan’s comment above, saying that the correct address of the Plaza is 118 S. Ninth Street, is indeed correct. However, a Plaza Theatre is listed at Mount Vernon in the 1914-1915 edition of The American Motion Picture Directory, and its address was 116 S. Ninth.

The December 25, 1919, opening of the Plaza must have been for a new Plaza Theatre replacing the old house— which had undoubtedly been a storefront conversion, given the age of the building still standing on that lot— next door.

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