April 10, 2013

Sidebar: Old theatres and opera houses in Champaign

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Danielle Sheppard

By Emily Siner / For CU-CitizenAccess.org

From the late 1800s to late 1900s, Champaign-Urbana was home to at least a dozen different opera houses, movie palaces and independent theaters, which attracted historic celebrities like Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers.

The map below compiles some of the theaters in downtown Champaign. Click on the blue markers for more information.

Some of the old theatres and “opera houses” in Champaign include:

Barrett Hall/Swannell’s Opera House (1865)

1 E. Main St.

Currently: One Main, Big Grove Tavern, KoFusion.

More information here

Eichberg Opera House (1872-1895)

22 E. Main St.

Currently: National City Bank drive-through.

More information here

Walker Opera House (1887-1917)

201 N. Neil St.

More information here

Varsity/Illini Theatre (1906-1983)

51 E. Main St.

Currently: The Highdive.

More information here

Lyric Theater (1911-1919)

303 N. Neil St.

Currently: M2 building, Destihl.

More information here

Park Theater/The Art Theater (1913-present)

126 W. Church St.

Currently: The Art Theater.

More information here

Theatre Belvoir/The Rialto (1915-1978)

121 W. Church St.

More information here

New Orpheum Theatre (1914-1986)

346 N. Neil St.

Currently: The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum.

More information here

Virginia Theatre (1921-present)

203 W. Park Ave.

Currently: The Virginia Theatre

More information here


View Champaign Theaters in a larger map