Effingham, IL (WAND) – The Effingham group is working to preserve and restore the iconic Hart Theater.
As of summer 2022, The Heart has been purchased by former Effingham native Amy Van Bergen. Her Van Bergen, who now lives in Florida, told WAND News that she saw theaters empty when she came back to town. She asked around and found out it was for sale.
“Every time I go back to the city, I drive through the city and ask what’s going on?”
Hart construction began in 1939 and officially opened on January 25, 1940. The featured film was ‘His Girl Friday’ starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy. Admission to see the film was 10 and 30 cents, according to the Heart Theater.
heart It was operated by the Furicina Amusement Company. The company operated movie theaters along with at least 16 other theaters in the Midwest until the 1970s. Hart continued to operate under various owners for decades before being permanently closed in 2007.
Chuck Pell, Principal at CJP Architects, said:
After its closure in 2007, Hart went through multiple hands before Van Bergen purchased the building. Pell said the previous owner helped maintain the building, but nothing more has been done to fully restore it.
“Its history is so much about all the people in Effingham, the people who created it, its history and what it means to all the people who have gone to see the film over the years. is tied to.”
Van Bergen no longer lives in central Illinois, but would like to donate this purchase to a nonprofit.
“It’s really the quintessential foundation of a community,” she said. is a symbol of
The group online survey Ask the community what they would like to see happen to the decades-old building. There will also be a public feedback session at Effingham City Hall on November 5th from 10am to 11am.
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