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The Dixon | Historic Theatre

Dixon, IL - Lee County
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The Dixon | Historic Theatre is proud to showcase live music, community theatre, movies, lectures, meetings, and conferences and continues the traditions established on opening night in March of 1922. We are a beacon for the arts from Chicago to Des Moines and throughout the Midwest.

Go to the events tab on our website or follow our Facebook page for a complete line up of upcoming shows.  

HISTORY
In 1920, Leonard G. Rorer, manager of Dixon’s Family Theatre, announced he had purchased the site of The Dixon Opera House in downtown Dixon “for the purpose of erecting the finest show house to be found between Chicago and Des Moines and from Rockford to LaSalle”. The Opera House had opened in 1876 and operated until it was completely destroyed by fire in early 1920.

On March 15, 1922, the Dixon Evening Telegraph announced the opening of The Dixon Theatre. A large picture of the theatre’s façade featured on the front page and several columns described the interior features and decorations. The Dixon had cost $200,000 to build (equivalent to $3 million today). It was designed in an Italian Renaissance style by local architect, William J. McAlpine, who had been responsible for the Lee County Courthouse, the Old Post Office, and the Dixon National Bank among other buildings.

The Dixon was entirely constructed of fireproof materials, brick, terracotta, concrete, steel, and terrazzo. “Quality throughout” was the slogan of the management in planning and erecting the theater. The building differed in design from most theaters of the time as there is an apartment above the lobby and storefronts on either side. The architectural treatment of the interior had an understated elegance with fine decorative features. The crowning glory was a large dome in the center of the ceiling with a sky treatment, which retains beautiful acoustics. There is also a large stage, orchestra pit, and a 1924 organ.

The Rorer family owned and operated the theater for nearly 30 years. Early show bills featured several vaudeville acts, a seven-piece orchestra and frequently a motion picture. An organ accompanied the early silent films and talking pictures arrived in 1929. Many local people have fond memories of dates at the movies and many area young people were introduced to plays, opera and ballet at The Dixon. Among the most famous events was the premier showing of the film of Ronald Reagan’s “International Squadron”. Through changes of ownership, The Dixon continued to serve as a movie house until 1984 when the final movie was shown and the theater closed.

Don't miss the "Wide Open Spaces" Art Exhibition at 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗣𝗶𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄 - @tnps_dixon! From June 6 to July 13, explore breathtaking landscapes captured in stunning 2D and 3D artworks. The exhibition is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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📍 Mad Water Saloon, Dixon, IL

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•Just a little place in Illinois • 
Part 1 

These are the things that amaze me. 

First - my son was running SO fast, I had to slow down this video…

Second - how did I NOT know about this place in Illinois?!

It’s 2 hours from home. 
And I had no clue about the beautiful working, Dutch windmill overlooking the Mississippi River. 

OR that they’ve had their own small town Dutch festival for 50 years! 

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It’s quite remarkable how many generations have prioritized preserving their heritage. 

The windmill, named De Immigrant,
was officially dedicated in the year 2000. 

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A few locals even use the mill to make local products for sale in their cultural center! 

Tours inside the windmill are FREE. 

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📍Fulton, Illinois is in NW Illinois

from Iowa
~ 45 miles from Davenport, Iowa 
~90 miles from Iowa City, Iowa 
~200 miles from Des Moines 

from Illinois
~40 miles from Dixon, Illinois 
~75 miles from Rockford, Illinois 
~140 miles from Chicago 

Have you ever heard of this Midwest windmill?
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