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Miners Institute Theatre, Collinsville, IL
Miners Institute Theatre, Collinsville, IL
Watercolor, Pen and Ink
13.5 x 10.5

The Miner's Theatre is associated with the City's first most important industry, mining. The first coal mine was sunk in Collinsville in 1857. The town grew with the industry and by 1886 a man could walk underground through connecting tunnels between the mines from one edge of the city limits to the other. Mining and Collinsville were almost synonymous terms.

In 1916, a representative of the United Mine Workers of America (U.M.W.A.) Local 264 convinced fellow miners that a union hall and public theatre should be built. The cost of the building was shared by a loan from the U.M.W.A. and the Collinsville union locals. The locals voted a 1% pay deduction to provide their part. The architect for the building was Robert G. Kirsch.

With World War I ending in November of 1918, the opening of the theatre was much anticipated. On December 28, 1918, at a cost of $138,993.26 ($2.5M in today's dollars), the building was open to the public. The opening ceremonies and parade were well attended not only by the miners' locals, but by hundreds of other residents.