Wildey Theatre to Receive Statewide Preservation Award

Wildey Theatre to Receive Statewide Preservation Award for Rehabilitation

On Saturday, October 26, the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville (Madison County)will be one of nine award winners honored by Landmarks Illinois as part of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. This 19th-annual event honors individuals, organizations, and projects throughout the state that represent excellence in historic preservation. The Wildey Theatre will receive the President’s Award for Rehabilitation.

“This year’s winners of a Richard H. Driehaus Preservation Award demonstrate that preservation is not only a tool to rejuvenate a vacant building, which many of our award winners were, but a key revitalization strategy for business, government, and community purposes.  Historic places are leading Illinois to a better future,” said Bonnie McDonald, President of Landmarks Illinois.

The once proud Wildey Theatre, which opened as an opera house in 1909, had decayed to the point of being an eyesore to the local community and in 1984 the doors of the Wildey were closed after showing its ‘final’ movie. In 1999, with the assistance of grant money received from the State of Illinois, the City of Edwardsville purchased the property. In response to tremendous public interest, City Council approved a $2.8 million funding plan that called on the community to contribute one-third of the renovation cost. The Friends of the Wildey Theatre was formed to demonstrate their support and accept the financial challenge.

The rehabilitation included restoring the original ticket booth and Art Deco light fixtures, updating the interior to meet accessibility and safety requirements, exterior restoration, and new furnishings for the interior spaces. On April 12, 2011, 102 years to the day after it originally opened, the historic Wildey Theatre was open for business again. “The Wildey has become a great source of pride in southwest Illinois. Some small towns have a courthouse square, others have a distinctive water tower: Edwardsville has the Wildey Theatre,” said Hal Patton, Mayor of Edwardsville.  To visit the Wildey, go to www.wildeytheatre.com

Other award winners around the state were:

  • Randolph Tower, Chicago—Rehabilitation
  • Harper Theater, Chicago—Rehabilitation
  • Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail, Columbia—Education
  • Livingston County Courthouse, Pontiac—Restoration
  • Pomeroy Apartments, Chicago—Rehabilitation
  • Pure Oil Building, Geneva—Advocacy
  • Walgreens Store, Chicago—Adaptive Use
  • Washington Square Apartments, Moline—Rehabilitation

Landmarks Illinois is dedicated to the preservation of buildings and landmarks throughout Illinois - not solely for the sheer aesthetics of a building and its architectural merits, but rather, for the influence that these structures have on their communities.  Landmarks Illinois is dedicated to highlighting how these places have worked their way into the fabric of their communities and how they have evolved to maintain their relevancy in their neighborhoods. And often, they have served as rallying points for entire communities.  It is this concept of "People in Places" and the role of building preservation that we are celebrating.


About the Awards.This is the 19th year Landmarks Illinois has presented these awards, aided by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The awards are designed to honor those whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and trading room from the Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this structure led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971. In addition, winners receive a $500 cash award.

This year’s awards jury was:Andrew Ahitow, Chicago Apartment Finders, Chicago (and Landmarks Illinois Board member); Dennis Garlick, W.E. O’Neil Construction, Chicago; Corlis Moody, Quinn Chapel A.M.E Church, Chicago; Amy Munro, City of Elgin, Elgin; Rachel Will, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Chicago; Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois, Chicago.

The awards ceremony, which includes cocktails and appetizers, will be held on October 26, from 4:30 to7:30 p.m. at The InterContinental Hotel, Chicago and is open to the public. Tickets are available at $40 for members and $50 for non-members. To make a reservation, contact Landmarks Illinois at 312-922-1742.

Photographs of Award Winners. For more information about the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards including images of the winning projects, visit www.Landmarks.org.Images of all winning projects are available from our press room at http://www.landmarks.org/image_library.htm.


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