Esquire Theatre, circa 1944 Downtown Bloomington
There aren’t too many known photographs of the Esquire Theatre, 108 N. Madison St., Bloomington. This one was taken by longtime Bloomington-Normal projectionist Karl Blakney, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 91. Karl was also an accomplished amateur photographer, and the Museum Archives holds a collection of his photographs.
This theater, originally a Bloomington Fire Department station built around 1890, opened as the Ewing Theatre in late 1939. It was renamed the Esquire in November 1941. The theater closed for good in the spring of 1957 and today this site is a stretch of parking lot between the vacant Elks fraternal building and Front Street.