Gillioz Theatre

Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East, Springfield, Missouri

Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East, Springfield, Missouri

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Gillioz Theatre

The Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri opened in October 1926. M.E. Gillioz had secured a 100-year lease on a single 16-foot wide plot bordering U.S. Route 66. His idea was for the theater to become one of the attractions for the travelers on the historic highway.

Gillioz’s main business was the construction of bridges. The theater was built using the same construction materials as his bridges – steel and concrete. The only places wood was used was for the handrails, doors and doorframes. The building cost $300,000 to build.

The theater was originally a transition theater, meaning that it could be used for a number of different types of performance. It has a pipe organ to accompany the silent movies of the day as well a stage to hold live performances. A sound system was installed in 1928 with the advent of the talkies.

The Gillioz hosted three movie world premiers. Of particular note is that future president Ronald Reagan appeared in all three: Swing Your Lady which premiered on January 14, 1938; The Winning Team shown on June 6, 1952; and, She’s Working Her Way Through College on July 4, 1952.

The “Gillioz, Theatre Beautiful”, as it became known, finally closed its doors in the summer of 1980, with its final show being an opera.

Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East, Springfield, Missouri

Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East, Springfield, Missouri

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

The Gillioz Theatre is now operated by the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust. A full renovation took place between 1990 and 2006 at a cost of approximately $1.9 million. The lobby and auditorium have been restored to their original 1926 appearance. Today, the theater is mainly a concert venue. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Summary
Gillioz Theatre
Article Name
Gillioz Theatre
Description
Opened in October 1926, Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri was planned to be an attraction for travelers using historic Route 66.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
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1 Comment

  1. These old marquee’s are awesome, great find

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