South Town Theatre

1106 S. Grand Avenue East,
Springfield, IL 62703

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Frisina Amusement Company

Architects: Carl T. Meyer

Functions: Workshop

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Empress Theatre

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News About This Theater

South Town Theatre

Opened as the Empress Theatre February 7, 1915, and renamed the South Town Theatre July 15, 1937 after it was remodelled in an Art Deco style. The South Town Theatre closed in 1959 as a movie house.

It, however, has been wonderfully maintained, and its gorgeous Streamline Moderne marquee, which still says “South Town”, now advertises the stained glass studio now housed inside.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Patsy on June 27, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Many years ago I was in Springfield Illinois, but at the time I wasn’t interested in old theatres so missed seeing this one.

Patsy on June 27, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Yes, it is too bad that it is no longer a theater, but it is nice to see that the owners of the stained glass business have chosen to restore the marquee and incorporate it into their business!

JimWalch on January 8, 2008 at 10:10 pm

I would like to thank Lost Memory for posting the photos of the Southtown Theater. This is something I should have been doing but just don’t have the time, yet. The restoration is finished and it looks great. If you happen to visit Springfield, Illinois look us up and see the marquee lit up. It is on from dark to 1 AM everyday. If anyone is interested in owning this building email me.

HowardBHaas on January 9, 2008 at 4:15 pm

marquee relighting 2007
View link

kencmcintyre on December 31, 2008 at 2:49 am

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine, October 1947:

SPRINGFIELD, ILL.-The Springfield-Frisina Theater Co. has purchased the Southtown Theater building from the Springfield Marine Bank for $35,000. The Frisina Amusement Co. has been operating the Southtown, a 300-seater, in conjunction with Leo Burnstine for a number of years. Mrs. Harry Burnstine manages the theater.

TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Very nice job of restoring the marquee and front of building.

stormdog on December 23, 2013 at 4:45 am

I just edited and posted a number of photos of the Southtown Theater from a trip last year. Here’s one; there are more on my Flickr page if you’re interested.

rivest266 on July 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm

February 7th, 1915 grand opening ad as Empress in photo section. It opened on the 8th.

rivest266 on July 27, 2015 at 7:54 pm

July 15th, 1937 grand opening ad as South Town in photo section.

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