Brief History of the Mar
The Mar Theatre opened for business on June 15th 1937. Its conception and construction were two years in the making. For a country just leaving depression, this venture was a bold statement of faith by the Butcher Brothers, a local family of entrepreneurs, in the their home town and the movie industry. The cost of construction in 1937 was $50,000.00
Engineering was truly state of the art for its time. The main structure of the building was riveted structural steel with masonry and plaster walls. The comfort of the patrons was not overlooked either. Steam provided comfortable heating for the cold season and during the hot summer months a new invention, chilled air conditioning kept patrons cool and comfortable. This was accomplished by passing air through water-chilled coils and forcing it into the theatre.
Safety was not overlooked in the construction either. The basement areas that contained the two boilers were fireproof construction. The walls ceiling and floors were of solid concrete to contain any potential fire. The original projection room was also of fireproof construction due to the volatile nature of the early film material. Four exits from the main theatre were provided.
Today much of the Mar is as it was in 1937. In its entire life the building has only been used as a movie theatre. The original stage and decorative ceiling are intact. The lobby and ticket booth area are in the original configuration. Much of the original architectural hardware and lighting fixtures are still in use. The concession area has been updated to serve the tastes of today’s generation. The original auditorium comfortably seats 300 moviegoers with a new second auditorium accommodating 64 patrons. Outside the original marquee is still used to inform moviegoers of the current movies. Tenants occupy the two small storefront offices on either side as it was originally.
The Mar is still a first run theatre, playing current films on the national break. We are one of the oldest and the only privately owned operating movie theatre in the Will County Area. We also run a limited number of old classic movies 3 to 4 times a year.