Blue Island Opera House

13114 Western Avenue

Built in 1908

Photographs by BIHS Executive Director Kevin Brown

 

The Blue Island Opera House was built by John L. Zacharias, Blue Island’s first mayor and founder of the First National Bank of Blue Island.

 

The Opera House replaced Robinson Hall, an enormous 1850s wood structure that was destroyed in 1896 during the great fire of Blue Island.

 

When the Opera House was first constructed the auditorium featured vaudeville and repertoire shoes. The facility became known as the Grand Theater. When motion pictures became the featured fare, the Grand was one of the first theaters to show “talkies.”

 

The architectural design features several elements of Italianate style, which include the round topped paired windows. The classically inspired cornice was reconstructed in 1998 by a local artisan and designed by a local historian. The Opera House was an Illinois Main Street award winner for interior and exterior design in 1999-2000.

 

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