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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Edwardsville, IL: Historic Wildey Theatre Reopens|
The historic Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, Illinois has re-opened to moviegoers, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
City officials say the Wildey will again become a cultural center for the community and add even more energy to a business district that has been on a decidedly positive track for several years.
Mayor Gary Niebur said Edwardsville has long tried to preserve the charm and historic character of its downtown, and the renovation of the Wildey continues that tradition. He said it will again become a gathering place and be a cultural asset into the future.
Click the Read link below to view the full article.
According to the official web site, the Wildey Theatre opened with a live performance of "Girl at the Helm" on April 12, 1909. The auditorium was later adapted to show silent films, and then they started showing "talkies" in 1927. The last movie shown by the full-time management was The Big Chill on March 9, 1984. The Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission later designated the Wildey Theatre as a "Local Landmark" in 1986. The Madison County Arts Council operated it for a time afterwards, and then by another unnamed part-time manager.
In 1999, the City of Edwardsville purchased the theater, and an extensive project was begun to rebuild the facade and make necessary repairs. The marquee was restored, and volunteers contributed hours of work to bring the theater to where it is today.
For more information about the history of the theater, see the Wildey Theatre History web site.
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