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Vandeveer Opera House

Photo from the Darren Snow collection.
116-18 S Main St
Taylorville IL

Record #10784  
 Opened: 1883
 Closed: 1979
 Current Use: Office Space
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Gem, Capitol
 Previously operated by: Frisina Enterprises

Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.

The theatres of downtown Taylorville have had a tendency to change their names, and so have the streets -- which makes the town's cinema history a tough one to follow. If I've got all my facts right, though, this building was the flagship of Dominic Frisina's once-mighty chain of Midwestern cinemas. Built as an opera house by H.M. Vandeveer in 1883, the structure later became home to the Gem and then the Capitol Theatre, finally giving up the entertainment business in 1979.

When this photo was taken, workmen were knocking out the decorative panels on the third floor, perhaps recreating windows that were once there. The outlines of decorative window frames can be seen on the second floor, and the ground level seems to have recently housed a shabby-looking group of storefronts or apartments. There's a garage door in the back, through which I could see that the building -- the first floor, anyway -- has basically been gutted. More on this saga as the construction work continues...

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

1997 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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The Capitol being re...

Photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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The theatre in its h...

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Last featured 11/16/2002. Last edited 12/19/2021.

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