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Pictorial History of Mattoon's Theaters


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



Additional Resources

mattoon theater 1896

Built in the summer of 1896, the Mattoon theater opened with Clay Clements in "The New Dominion", as well as "The Bells" the next night (Sept. 23, 1896). 
It cost $25,000 to build the 3 floor theater, which included 6 dressing rooms, 10 proscenium boxes, 2 balconies, and steam heat.  

broadway 1900

A scene looking down Broadway, c. 1900, the street that housed Mattoon's theaters at the turn of the century. 

time theater

The Time Theater opened in 1937, one of the last theaters to open in downtown Mattoon to date.

dole opera house

The Dole Opera House opened in 1896 as the first vaudeville-based theater in Mattoon.

marriage portrayal 1912

Children were often entertainers as seen in this marriage portrayal at the Dole Opera House in 1912.

kids outside mattoon theater 1920

Children also the largest audience to attend theaters, as seen outside the Mattoon Theater c. 1920.

minstrel 1898

Minstrel show as part of the Philharmonic theater group, October 29, 1898.


*All photos are courtesy of Local History Room, Mattoon Public Library