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Theaters in Roxana, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

ROXANA THEATER/ROXANA CINE

Roxana Theater, Roxana, IL - 1949The Roxana Theater was located at 400 N. Central Avenue in Roxana. The theater opened September 1, 1940, and was owned by Albert Critchlow, who formerly managed the Temple Theater in Alton. Critchlow and his family lived in an apartment above the lobby.

The theater was constructed of yellow brick and pre-cast stone, and was the latest in modern theater design at the time. The projection machine and sound equipment were the latest available. The theater had automatic seat-raisers, which lifted the seat as soon as the occupant stood up. The aisles in the theater were carpeted and padded to prevent sounds from interfering with the show, and patrons were cooled with modern air conditioning.

On May 21, 1949, a tornado took the roof off the theater. Mr. and Mrs. Critchlow were at dinner at a lunchroom at the north end of Wood River at the time of the storm. The theater was scheduled to open its doors that evening in about a half hour from the time the storm hit. The tornado devasted an 8-block area of North Wood River and Roxana, and killed five people. The theater was repaired and remodeled after the tornado, and re-opened November 20, 1949. A new roof was installed, a lounge was added, and the theater completely renovated.
Roxana Theater, Roxana, IL - 1949
Critchlow operated the theater for 26 years until 1966, when the Bloomer Amusement Company of Belleville purchased the theater. Critchlow, who was born in New York City in 1896, died February 18, 1966 at the age of 69. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force during World War I, and was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The Bloomer Amusement Company of Belleville (B.A.C.) reopened the theater on September 24, 1968. The general manager, Richard Wright, sent invitations for a special showing to 570 guests, with the premier show being, “With Six You Get Eggroll.” The theater was extensively redecorated, and a concession stand was added and a respacing of seats was made for adult comfort. The automation of the projection booth allowed for the combining of the positions of manager and projectionist, a spot which was filled by Clarence Budde of Alton. The seating capacity, after the respacing, was reduced from 700 to 571. The interior was repainted from pink to green and white, and the theater’s name was changed from the Roxana Theater to the Roxana Cine.
Roxana Theater ad

 

 

 

The Roxana Cine was later (about 1987) owned by Kerasotes, before it closed as a commercial theater in 2002.

In 2002 the building was acquired by the Church of the Nazarene, and renamed Nazarene Community Center, where movies are shown one weekend each month. Also held at the center are plays, concerts, and other programs held by the church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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