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Theaters in Highland, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

COLUMBIA OPERA HOUSE/LORY THEATER AND AIRDOME

Lory Theater in Highland, Illinois

The Lory Theater is located at 810 Main Street in Highland. The theater originally opened in 1912 as the Columbia Opera House, where moving pictures and vaudeville were its primary attractions. It was built by Highland businessman Adolph P. Mosimann, who already owned most of the block, including the Columbia Hotel.

The theater's balcony had sliding partitions to close it off from the theater, so the front of the building could be used for dances. The projection equipment was in a cage outside the building, so its beams may be directed into the theater or upon the curtain of the Airdome next door.


Lory Theater, Highland, Illinois

In 1916, Henry Lory bought the Columbia Hotel, Airdome, and Opera House for $20,000. Lory managed the opera house until his death in 1932, when his youngest son, Herbert, took over as manager.

In 1935 the opera house closed for two months for renovations that would bring the theater up to modern standards. The building was lengthened and most of the stage removed, since live theater would no longer perform there. The front of the building was rebuilt in the Art Deco style. The theater was renamed The Lory Theater, in memory of Henry Lory.

Lory Theater, Highland, Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

In 1939, Kerosotes Theaters leased the building and in 1947 purchased it. Kerosote closed off the balcony and put another screen on the second floor. They operated the business until 2011, when they were bought by AMC. Later, the McLaughlins purchased the theater and renovated the building. It is still open today.

 

 

 

 

COLUMBIA OPERA HOUSE EXHIBITION
Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, February 18, 1914
A sparring match will be held at the Columbia Opera House, Wednesday evening, February 18, in addition to a large moving picture show. It will be between W. O. McLaughlin of Highland and M. M. Corbett of Edwardsville, says the Highland Leader. A four-round bout for points only, no hitting in the clinches. Marquis of Queensbury rules to govern. This exhibition will be given for the purpose only of organizing what will be known as the Highland Athletic Club, which will be a fine thing for Highland citizens and vicinity. The training will include all the latest scientific methods used in regular professional training quarters, including boxing, catch-as-catch-can, wrestling, etc. The admission to the show will be same as regular prices - 5 and 10 cents, as no extra charge will be made for boxing exhibition.

 

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