Southwestern Electric Cooperative joins effort to restore historic Collinsville theater

From Illinois Business Journal news services

COLLINSVILLE – Southwestern Electric Cooperative members are aiding efforts to restore and reopen the historic Miner’s Theatre on Main Street.

Earlier this month, a committee which oversees the cooperative’s Operation Round Up program voted to award the Miner’s Institute Foundation a $1,000 grant. Operation Round Up is a charitable program governed, funded, and supported by Southwestern Electric Cooperative members.

minerstheaterCo-op members may elect to have their monthly electric bills rounded up to the nearest dollar. The extra change, ranging from a penny to a dollar, goes to the Operation Round Up fund. Operation Round Up has contributed more than $73,000 in support of food pantries, science and safety initiatives, veterans’ affairs, youth and civic programs, and the arts.

The nearly 100 year-old Miner’s Institute building (shown left)  has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Collinsville Historic Landmark. The construction of the building was paid for by the local miners’ unions. The theatre brought entertainment to the City of a class not usually seen in cities of this size. The second and third floors gave a permanent home for the union offices and provided a central meeting place for the mining locals.

These floors were also used by various community groups for social activities and housed a small library, which was the beginning of the present day Collinsville Memorial Public Library.

The building is currently closed until the Miner’s Institute Foundation raises the funds needed to complete the significant renovation to make it ADA accessible and compliant with current building codes in order to reopen it. Restoring this icon will positively impact the city and surrounding region by bringing live theatre, music, weddings, and meeting space for local community organizations.

Although the Foundation has made significant progress toward the restoration of the theatre, there is still much to do. The not-for-profit group is seeking monetary contributions and organized labor unions wishing to join in the project by donating their labor. Those interested in the restoration efforts or who would like to contribute may visit www.historicminersinstitute.org, follow on Facebook (Miner’s Theatre), email at [email protected] or call (618) 972-4236.

The Miner’s Institute Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized by volunteer citizens for the purpose of raising funds for the rehabilitation and support of the Miner’s Institute.

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