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   Home      Investigations 2013      Washington Theatre, March
Washington Theater
Quincy, Illinois
 

 
     It has been a prominent part of Quincy's history since the doors first opened in 1924. Pete Pinkelman and Albert Cory commissioned the construction of the building in 1923, and on June 19, 1924 they saw their dreams fulfilled. The beautiful Mediterranean Revival style building, located across the street from Washington Park, was originally designed to accommodate 1480 persons who could sit and enjoy a night out on the town.
     In 1926 the building was sold to Balaban and Katz, and was remodeled to include a cooling system, two exits onto Hampshire Street, lowering the stage for better visibility, dressing rooms for the actors, and new stage lighting. The first talking picture in Quincy, "The Lights Of New York" was hosted at this theater. Many vaudeville acts played in this theater. And it also served as the stage for many live productions over the years.
     1971 showed the theater changing hands again, as Kerasotas Theater purchased the building in October of that year. They continued to show movies until the fall of 1982, when they closed their doors. Shortly afterwards, Kerasotas donated the building to the city of Quincy. 
     It might be thought that this was the end to the building, but not so. In the late 1980's, the building again changed hands, with the Sunwest cooperation building the building. They made improvements to the basement and front of the building, but the stage sat empty. The city of Quincy reacquired the building once again in 2000.
     The Washington Theater Redevelopment Commission, along with the Friends of Washington Theater, have created a plan to revitalize this once important structure, and make it a prominent part of the area. Plans include restoring all three levels of the building and making it a usable structure once again. The marquee was recently revamped and now, once again, flashes at night with all the beauty that the building still holds. And we hope that, one day very soon, we all can go see a play, or watch a movie in this historic building on the north side of the square in Quincy.
     In a building with this much history, there comes many unexplained things. Reports of shadows being see, of hearing voices when the building is empty. Research shows that during its construction, a worker fell from the balcony to his death, his name was Henry. A newspaper article refers to "George the Ghost" and how he walked around after closing. Is it possible that not all the actors have left? Could they still be here, not sure of where to go next? This is where we went on a fairly cold night, to see if we could make contact with the spirits which seem to still roam the aisles. Were we successful, did we make contact? We were able to catch voices from a time long past, maybe music playing from an organ long since removed? Come along and see, as we raise the curtain on another performance at Washington Theater.
 
For information on how you can help with the restoration, contact Friends of Washington Theater here:   http://www.washingtoncentral.org/index.php 
 
 
 
From the balcony looking down
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo to show the alterations to the seating that has happened down through the years
Investigation team this night:
Front row, Greg and Leslie Haslem, representing the Friends Of Washington Theater
Middle row: Carol and Mike  with Quincy Paranormal Investigations
Back row: Teri and Denny from Il-Mo Entity Trackers
 
 
The controls, used to raise and lower the curtains, and generally move things around as needed for the show
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Denny uses the spirit box during an EVP session at the theater
 
Scott and Michelle, who joined us for the night
 
 
 
We could not account for this
 
 
Poster from a 1929 showing
 
 
 
The group, during the night
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Norma worked at the ticket booth, and lived upstairs in an apartment for 38 years.
 
Photo from research at the library
 
 
James, who investigates with the team when possible, being "attacked" by his son Michael
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The billboard on the last day of productions.
October 1, 1982
 
Found during research at the library
 
EVPs:
 
All recordings were captured in the balcony area, on a recorder either at the table or at the window
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
During the investigation, one of the investigators had a visualization of an event from the past. They saw a little boy being run over by a wagon in front of the building, and they heard a scream. During review, we captured this:
 
 
 
 
EVPs:
 
This seemed to be the theme through the night. It should be noted that, even though this sits on a busy street, the noise of vehicles 
could not be heard and were not picked up on the recorders
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
We wonder if someone was having a good time that night after hearing this recording
 
 
Usually our Ovilus is talkative, but not so much this night
We did record this one response
 
 
 
 
 
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