157 Park Central Square,
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History Museum on the Square (Official)
Firms: Boller Brothers
Previous Names: Electric Theatre, Publix Electric Theatre, Paramount Theatre
Located in downtown Springfield and opened on October 8, 1916 with Theda Bara in “Her Double Life”. It was originally known as the Electric Theatre with 1,800 seats and was designed by the Boller Bros. architectural firm. Interior decorations were by Kansas City based interior decorator G.T. Noel in a Renaissance style and local Springfield artist Oliver J. Corbett provided decorative paintings. Vaudeville acts were booked through the Pantages circuit and supplemented the movie program. It was refurbished in 1926 and a theatre organ was installed.
The Electric Theatre was taken over by Publix on February 9, 1930 and renamed Publix Electric Theatre. Paramount took over on September 24, 1930 and it was renamed Paramount Theatre. They sold it to Fox Theatres on November 30, 1933 and it reverted back to the Electric Theatre name.
It was given a major facelift and reopened as the Fox Theatre on December 4, 1947 with the world premiere of “Killer McCoy” starring Mickey Rooney. Five days later, on December 9, 1947, the Fox Theatre was badly damaged by a fire. It took a year and a half to renovate and the Fox Theatre reopened on June 23, 1949 with Hedy Lamarr in “Let’s Live a Little”. It closed on December 2, 1984 with Clint Eastwood in “Tightrope”. Afterward it became home to a church who moved out in 2014.
By 2017 the Fox Theatre is owned by the History Museum on the Square. As the museum expands, the Fox Theatre will continue to be an integral part of this development. Currently, the Fox Theatre is used for a variety of purposes including displaying exhibits, hosting concerts and lectures, and serving as an event rental space.
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