Arcada Theatre

105 E. Main Street,
St. Charles, IL 60174

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LouRugani on March 22, 2019 at 7:01 pm

The iconic Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles has been ordered to address code violations before reopening, city officials said yesterday, following a thorough code and safety inspection by the St. Charles Fire Department and a third-party fire inspection consultant after receiving complaints regarding overcrowding at the Arcada, accessibility to exits in the building, and issues hearing the fire alarm during a performance. Fire officials decided to schedule a complete code and safety inspection to take place during the building’s regularly scheduled annual review in March. B&F Construction Code Services, Inc., an independent third-party fire protection consultant, and the city’s building and code enforcement staff completed their reviews on March 12. City officials didn’t elaborate on the exact issues at hand but did say they are working with the building’s owner to get the theatre back up and running, and a Facebook post from the Arcada Theatre on March 21 indicated the issue had to do with a cover from the theatre’s electrical system that “came off.” The post reads: “We are feeling the pains of this 93-year-old building! One of the covers from the electrical system came off and we won’t let anyone into the building until it is 100% safe.”

DavidZornig on August 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Monday’s 90th Anniversary Flyer added to Photo Section. It has the day’s itinerary and phone number for tickets. Also available on the link below.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

The Arcada’s pipe organ was built by Marr & Colton, originally 3 manuals and 10 ranks of pipes. Its original console supposedly adorned with flamingos. Early in the organ’s life it was rebuilt and expanded to 16 ranks by the Geneva organ company. The existing Art Deco style console dates from that time. Marr & Colton and Geneva were companies that specialized in building pipe organs for theatres but they are not remembered as being the top tier in that category (as for example, Wurlitzer, Kimball, Robert Morton). In short, a Marr & Colton was a lot cheaper than a Wurlitzer. It’s interesting that the owners of the Aracada, obviously building to high standards, choose an organ which was a definite nod to “economy.”

DAL on January 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

When this theatre only had two triplexes as competition, it could churn out some big boxoffice numbers with a good booking. A couple of interesting facts: (1) Aside from a theatre organ, there was also a turntable in the stage floor. (2) When a would-be burglar broke in and attempted to rob the house safe, all they were able to do was to ruin the dial and make it impossible to access. The safe and its contents were left alone, since it was going to cost more to access the safe than the house fund contained!

IceCoach on July 8, 2007 at 12:04 am

I am so glad that the Arcada will go on. My Dad was a projectionist there in the 50’s and early 60’s. I can remember seeing the Ten Commandments there and I will always remember that. I can also remember the ladder that my Dad had to climb to reach the projection booth. I don’t know how he did it every day. I remember the Saturday matinees showing all of our favorite cartoons on the large screen. I am glad that another generation will be able to enjoy a great theater.

JoiaLucht on February 23, 2007 at 9:56 am

Good afternoon! As a member of Onesti Entertainment, I wanted to stop by and thank you all for your enthusiastic support of The Arcada! As youâ€\ve noted, Onesti Entertainment has taken over the management of the Theatre. You can keep track of our shows by visiting If you are interested in receiving our email newsletters, feel free to email me () and Iâ€\ll add you to the list.

As I believe has been mentioned here, there are still movies shown at The Arcada. You will frequently see silent movies shown with live organ music, as well as film fests, classic flicks, and favorite pop culture movies like “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” We also have live events, such as concerts, ballet, theater and community events.

Restoring The Arcada is a work of love for Ron Onesti, owner of Onesti Entertainment. He is enthusiastic about maintaining the original splendor of the theatre while introducing new generations to the fun and excitement of a classic theatre. If you have any suggestions or requests, we would be happy to hear from you.

Thank you again for your support of The Arcada Theater!

Joia Noel Lucht
Director of Festivals & Special Events

klimkm on October 23, 2006 at 9:45 am

I went to the 80th anniversary vaudeville show, and I really thought that Onesti group and the three sheeters club that put on the show did a great job of re-creating what I think must have been what a true vaudeville show was like back then. It was very enjoyable. Good job.

kmac on July 27, 2006 at 9:11 am

Hello, I am working with Onesti Entertainment to put together a documentary celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Arcada Theatre. I am currently doing research into the history of the Arcada and the usage of the Arcada throughout different era of American history. If anyone has already preformed some research and would like to contribute it would be appreciated. As another part of the documentary we would also like to look at the “uniqueness” of the Arcada, why this theatre is so special. For this section we are looking for ways the Arcada has touched individual lives, so if you have a story about the theatre(meeting a significant other there, former employee, anything that is unique and interesting) let me know. Shoot me an e-mail at

kencmcintyre on June 1, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Unless I missed it, I don’t see that anyone has posted Onesti’s web page for the Arcada:

thefaw on April 17, 2006 at 4:05 pm

Anyone aware of non-profit visual/performing arts groups, etc. that have interest in purchasing the Arcada? Contact Theresa at City of St Charles-(630) 443-4093,

TheatreBoy on February 10, 2006 at 8:56 pm

I’m an Organist and one of the Curators of the Pipe Organ, so here’s an update on work going on at the Arcada. Within the past few months, up-lights have been placed by the Procenium arch, and really helps the front of the theatre not look so dank. The floors in the theatre have been painted “theatre” red. (a big step up from the half-ripped up, filthy baby blue floor) And recently the theatre regained lost dressing room space which, for the past several decades were gutted and being used by the bar next door. Previously, a billiards room on the second floor was used as THE dressing room. This will help stage-shows immensely.

The original 1926-28 3/16 Marr-Colton/Geneva Theatre Pipe Organ(thats a mouthful)is still played prior to select shows, but unfortunately is not advertised, so you’ll never know when its played(typical). The Organ is playable, but do to 80 years of water damage and neglect, much of the organ needs to be rebuilt, and some chestwork is so damaged, it will require replacement chests. This I say as a matter of fact, not a matter of dire immportance. Serious work(and money) will be put into the organ only when the Theatre’s wellfare is secured. Seeing the uncertain future of the Theatre, we merely try to keep the organ in playable condition, and pray for the Theatre’s future.
Well, I hope SOMEONE found all this rambling useful.

HOUDINI1974 on December 8, 2005 at 3:25 am

Onesti will ruin the joint.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 17, 2005 at 10:39 am

Funny thing is that I like the existing marquee and vertical more than the marquee in that 1929 picture. How often does that happen?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 10, 2005 at 11:30 am

This is a fine house: great architecture and in good condition. Good luck to Onesti. I believe buildings like this can become community centers again, especially when fitted with a complete stage. It is all a matter of creating another generation of positive memories.

klimkm on July 21, 2005 at 6:41 am

Check out today’s “The lights are back on at the Arcada” article in the Kane county chronicle. Finally they have re-opened and are doing live entertainment. And the first show looks like it was a success. Thank goodness – I would have been so sad to see it go the way of the Geneva theatre (a subway sandwich shop) or the Dupage (torn down).
Kudos to those who made this happen… hope the success is ongoing.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 16, 2005 at 8:56 am

Who is “Concerned Taxpayer”?

TRAINPHOTOS on June 19, 2005 at 5:07 pm

I hope that “Concerned Taxpayer” doesn’t discover this theatre! He’ll fight to have this one demolished too! (Look at the postings for the Dupage Theatre and you’ll find out what I’m talking about!).

I hope that the Arcada can be successful. It blends in beautifully with its surroundings.

klimkm on June 13, 2005 at 6:50 am

The outfit that has taken over the management of the Arcada operations is Onesti entertainment. I have checked out their website and they look OK – only time will tell. I hope that they can make a go of it. There is lots of competition in the fox valley area for theatre patrons.

There was a public meeting last Friday – sounds like an open forum type of thing that Onesti hosted. Which is a good sign, that means they are looking for input anyway. I was unable to make.

I would hope that they can bring at least some “family centric” entertainment to the Arcada. There are lots of new homes out this way now and people who are looking for entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. Maybe a “variety” type of show. Pheasant run has more “adult” themed plays. Norris is more cultural entertainment. The other larger venues like the Hemmens and the Paramount in aurora have concerts. Kind of like the shows they put on at the Rosemont theatre for kids “blues clues” “sesame street”, etc. Something that kids would really like. These people out here will spend money on entertaining their kids.

It is way too nice of a venue to have been closed forever. And in a primo location too. Wish the Arcada luck!

Patsy on June 9, 2005 at 2:16 pm

Bryan: Thanks for that theatre correction.

Patsy on June 9, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Taken from Bryan’s posted article: “Pheasant Run Resort recently unveiled its remodeled and expanded theater; work on a $6 million expansion project has started on the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora; the Norris Theatre in St. Charles continues its comeback after being shut down with mold infestation three years ago; the Hemmens Auditorium in downtown Elgin and the Elgin Community College auditorium and theaters remain popular venues.”

Patsy on June 9, 2005 at 1:40 pm

In my research the Norris Theatre is mentioned as being in St. Charles at one time, but I don’t find it listed on CT so perhaps someone can add this one.

Patsy on June 9, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Bryan: Thanks for this recent article. A family member will be in St. Charles the end of this month so I’m hoping that he will have a chance to see the Arcada Theatre, in person!