A clean break. Midway Theatre roof collapsed. Rockford Fire Dept. photo via Rockford Register Star.

Midway, Rockford Illinois roof collapse

A clean break, a big pile of kindling. Midway Theatre roof collapsed. Rockford Fire Dept. photo via Rockford Register Star.

Pete Drnek in Rockford sends this note. There are more photos on the newspaper link below. We saw the handsome exterior of this theatre during a “photo op” on the way to see the Coronado during our 2003 Chicago Conclave / Theatre Tour. That was the trip that Save the Boyd’s Howard Haas still remembers for the cows seen in the fields along the way. Being a city boy, we Midwesterners had to explain to him that it wasnt yet dinner time so that’s why they weren’t in the barn.

” I came across your group doing research on how to save our Midway Theater here in Rockford, ILL.  The theater has had a rough history as of late starting with a fire in 1980 that gutted the lobby and apartments above.  It was rebuilt but never reopened as a movie theater afterwards.  In the years following it was used on and off as a music venue and performing arts stage but sadly that came to an end around 2003.  That year our Coronado Theater reopened after a $60 million + restoration mostly funded thru grants and private donations from our community.  The remaining performing arts groups at the Midway then moved to the Coronado.  Sadly the Midway has passed thru several owners who have neglected her resulting in what you can see in the  link in the Rockford Register Star.  The roof collasped over the audiotorium area in front of the stage.   The community is beginning to rally to save her but there are concerns the city may order a demolition soon.  There is a group that has formed on Facebook called “Save the Midway”.  ”



  1. Yikes! I don’t recall this particular theater. From the bus, I only recall the cows as Richard says. More info here

    • Thomas Gessner

      We did not drive by the Midway, it was the old Capitol Theatre that we saw from the bus.

  2. I posted the wrong link. Here http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1256

  3. Thomas Gessner

    This was one of three theatres in Rockford that I would see movies. A beautiful building, I hope it can be saved.

  4. Pete Drnek

    Thanks for posting the news about the Midway. There is a group on Facebook that has formed called Save the Midway if anyone is interested in joining us. Our goal is to save the building from demolition first then to raise funds to bring the Midway back in some form or another. One idea is to show vintage films. We are looking for ideas on fund raising etc. Thanks!

  5. oldfolkie

    Does anyone have a good image of the interior of the theater before the fire in the early ’50’s? The Cinema Treasures photo’s the only one I’ve found and, although I’m grateful it exists, it’s not too clear. I only remember the Midway from the late ’50’s ’til it’s closing and then it was a nondescript, generic auditorium. Originally, the interior was as ornate as the facade and rivaled the Coronado Theater, Rockford’s premier theater.

  6. E Tennant

    Does anyone know the current owner’s name and phone number? Am interested in some of the fixtures but don’t know how to contact them.

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