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Illinois Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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History of the
Miner's Institute
building at Collinsville, Illinois
Miner's Institute
Miner's Institute at Collinsville, Illinois

Photographed July 20, 2013

Local Coal Miners began planning the building as a "Labor Temple" in 1916
The Miner's Institute building was dedicated on December 14, 1918.
The building was sold to an amusement company in 1969 which operated it as a movie theater until 1984.
A re-dedication took place on October 2, 1993
Currently undergoing a historic preservation process by a local organization:

Miner's Institute terra cotta statuette
Photographed July 20, 2013
The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 12
Saturday, May 18, 1918, page 3
      Last week a statuette was placed over the entrance to the New Labor Temple now in process of construction. The statuette is of terra cotta and represents two miners engaged in friendly conversation, one carrying a book and the other a pick. The figures are about life size and are only intended to be typical of a resemblance to two employes of the coal mines in this city, that it is not strange to learn that Messrs. Mat Pigford and Alfred Bailey of this city sat for the photographs from which the moulding was designed. The designer wanted simply typical costumes and positions and faces, and they were careful not to make the statuettes too life like so as to prevent any show of favoritism, but at the same time the figures are easily recognized as taken from life and those acquainted with the men can trace a distinct resemblance to the originals in the features.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 21
Saturday, July 20, 1918, page 1
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Iron Worker Dies at Hospital from Strangulated Colon
      George Kenney, aged about 50 years, who had been employed as one of the structural iron workers on the Miners Institute, was taken to the hospital last Wednesday suffering from strangulated colon. He was in a desperate and serious condition and efforts were made to discover where his relatives were located, but without avail and the man died Thursday. His funeral was held Tuesday of this week at St. John's cemetery, the expenses being taken care of by the Structural Iron Workers Union, of St. Louis, and the remains being held for a number of days in the effort to find relatives. He is supposed to have come from Pittsburgh, Penn.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 29
Saturday, September 14, 1918, page 1
      The last regular meeting of Local Union No. 848, U. M. W. of A., which was held on Friday evening of last week, proved an interesting one for the members of the organization. Considerable business was transacted at the session which was of much importance. Among the matters of importance taken up was the election of two trustees from this local for the board which is to have charge of the management of the affairs of the new miners temple now in course of construction. These officers are to be permanent and with the two elected from each of the other locals will constitute the board who will have complete charge of the new building. The two elected to represent this local on the board were Harry B. Ewing and Louis Colone. The other locals have already made their selections, the members being named for the position some time previous.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 33
Saturday, October 12, 1918, page 3
      A committee representing the trustees of the new miners institute asked permission to lay a four-foot concrete walk on the south side of the building in the alleyway, walk to connect to sidewalk to be built on the east side of the structure, and the request was granted.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 38
Saturday, November 16, 1918, page 2
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Description of Handsome New Structure and Its Theatre Features
Miner's Institute at Collinsville, Illinois
      The day is drawing near when the Miners Theatre will open its doors to the public, and that day will mark an epoch in the history of Collinsville. Every citizen of our city can feel a just pride in this building which would grace any large city, and a vote of thanks is due those men whose untiring efforts have been responsible for the erection of the edifice.
      At a meeting of the trustees held on Wednesday night it was decided that the new building would be opened on Saturday, December 14th, with dedication exercises in the afternoon of this date and with the opening show in the evening. The trustees were unable to announce the opening previously owing to the influenza epidemic, but the ban having been lifted were able to set the definite date at their meeting Wednesday evening.
      The Miners Institute building, of which the theatre is a part, was designed by Robert G. Kirsch, of St. Louis, the well known architect of the Middle West. It is most attractive architecturally, being of modern renaissance design. As you enter the vestibule and lobby with their marble wainscotting of pink Tennessee marble and black marble base, make a most agreeable impression.
      The auditorium of the theatre is 62 feet by 90 feet in size and has a balcony floor 62 feet by 46 feet. The balcony floor is supported by girders of span of the entire width of the theatre, eliminating all sight-obstructing columns on the main floor. On the sides of the proscenium arch, four boxes are provided. The front seats of the balcony are also divided into boxes.
      This new theatre is the last word in decorative art throughout. The color scheme is a thing of beauty and consequently will be a joy forever. The woodwork tinted in French grey with beautiful frescoes across the high ceiling; the charmingly delicate grill work tracery of the organ loft; the myriads of electric lights cleverly placed to get the best effect, make a scene of incomparable beauty.
      The stage is so constructed and equipped with electric lighting, dressing rooms, gridiron, etc., that any performance can be given on it. Original scenery of great beauty has been especially designed, promising a wonderful stage setting that will be a surprise to even seasoned theatre patrons. The sight lines of all seats were carefully studied and arranged, so that every seat in the house has a clear view toward the whole stage, as well as toward the screen for the moving picture show. An asbestos curtain gives a delightful feeling of security.
      The orchestra is to be placed in front of the stage in a depressed pit.
      All devotees of the silent drama will be interested in knowing that the most improved type of the Waton Rexelex Motor Generator is installed, together with two of the latest and best motion picture machines on the market, guaranteeing absolute perfection in the projecting of pictures on the screen. This screen also is the very best procurable and is stamped with the approval of all the well known motion picture theatres throughout the country.
      That everything should contribute to the enjoyment of the patrons over-ruled all monetary considerations, so great care was exercised in the arrangement of the seats, by allowing, ample space from back to back, thus assuring absolute comfort. This is sure to be appreciated and will appeal to many who have spent hours in cramped seating quarters, thereby materially detracting from the enjoyment of the performance. Another convenience of the theatre is a rest room for the ladies.
      The entire building is heated and ventilated by the best modern methods. In addition the auditorium is provided with large shutters operated for summer air ventilation.
      The building is of strictly fireproof construction and is provided with sufficient exits to clear the auditorium in a few minutes.
      No effort and expense has been spared to make this theatre complete in every sense of the word and to provide everything for the comfort and amusement of the patrons. The management has planned shows that can not be surpassed, and what more could be asked?
      Too much cannot be said about the splendid electrical equipment which rivals the most pretentious show houses of a city. 1,000 lights are used to illuminate the interior.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 39
Saturday, November 23, 1918, page 1
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Falls While Painting at Ceiling in Miners New Building
      William G. T. Jones, a painter employed at the new Miners Institute building in this city, fell to his death Monday when a board on a scaffold on which he was working broke and let him fall to the granitoid floor almost fifty feet below. Jones skull was fractured and he died a few minutes after the fall. He was 53 years of age and resided at 1482a Burd avenue, St. Louis, and was married, being survived by the widow.
      An inquest was conducted by Justice Thomas and the other workmen in the building told of their attention being attracted by the noise of the falling man and of their seeing him strike the pavement. A physician was called and the man carried to the hospital where he expired in a few moments. The jury rendered a verdict in accordance with the above facts.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 39
Saturday, November 23, 1918, page 3
Miners Now Theatre Will Open With Splendid Attraction.
      The new miners theatre of this city will be opened Saturday evening, December 14th, with one of the most elaborate and spectacular productions on the stage. No expense has been spared in the matter of artists or costumes or scenery. The cast includes Mr. John Besse, premiere tenor, who has just finished a trip from coast to coast, starring in the opera, Faust; Mrs. Chester Nordman, known on the stage as Zada, whose beautiful dancing was much admired in the past season in New York. She will dance her famous peacock dance of the Sacred Peacock, wearing a most elaborate costume of peacock feathers. The eye of each peacock feather is studded with a diamond. Other celebrities are Mr. John Rohan, well known baritone of the concert field; Mr. Will Mackenzie; Mr. George Ravold, whose Italian impersonations are well known to vaudeville devotees; Miss Gladys Bamberger, another well known star of the vaudeville stage and Miss Marion Taucke, who has been chosen as the first soloist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra for the occasion will be composed of Symphony men under the direction of Mr. Arthur Lieber, one of the foremost musicians of the day. A fun-making farce will be staged by Mr. Harry J. McLain, whose work in that direction is too well known to need comment.
      The costumes are remarkably elaborate especially in the Egyptian scene and the Italian scene. The famous Rigoletto Quartette will be sung by Grand Opera stars and a chorus of fifty beautiful young girls will add to the attraction of the evening.
      Novel lighting effects together with magnificent scenery will greatly enhance the house "beautiful." You cannot afford to miss so rare an opportunity to see a $3,000 show for a nominally priced ticket.
      The miners have secured the most elaborate production that modern stagecraft can conceive and are putting the price within the reach of everybody, so do not fail to enjoy this feast of beautiful songs, dazzling dances and funny, side-splitting situations, under the personal direction of Eugenia Getner, well known producer.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 39
Saturday, November 23, 1918, page 8
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Specifications for Shades, Floor Matting and Drapery, Miners Institute building, Collinsville
      The Miners Institute by its trustees will receive proposals for the furnishing and installation complete, of Shades, Matting and Drapery.
      All bids must be in the hands of the Trustees, November 27th, 7 p. m.
      The owners reserve the right to reject any and all bids or proposals and to award the contract as they may decide it to the best interest of the owners to do, considering excellence of work, quality of the samples submitted, and capacity for the execution and completion of the work.
      The proposals, when prepared, shall be placed in envelope and endorsed "Proposal for Drapery, Shades and Matting" and addressed to the Trustees of the Miners Institute Bldg., Collinsville, Ill.
      All windows on 2nd floor, Reading Room, Committee and Secretaries rooms, including transoms; windows facing Main street; all windows on 3rd floor, meeting hall and kitchen, to have shades.
      To be made of John King's dark green Scotch Holland or equal.
      All shades to be finished 9 inches longer than opening.
      Cloth to be not more than 1-8 inch narrower than shoulder to shoulder measure of roller.
      Cloth to be trimmed both sides. Cloth to be doubled back where tacked on roller, so that the tack will go through two thicknesses of cloth.
      Wood rollers to have cast end, no caps; 1¼ inch wood rollers on shades up to 5 feet wide.
      All brackets to be screwed to casements (not nailed) shades to be finished at bottom with Shurson clasps, cord and bone tip.
      Measurements to be taken at the building.
      A separate and distinct bid will be received on the shades.
      All aisles in lower auditorium and lobby and vestibule and center aisles on balcony floor to have rubber matting or cork carpet or equal, runs.
      Each bidder to submit sample of each with prices for foot or yard measure for the Committee to select from as to quality and price.
      All matting to have metal ends. Measurements to be taken at building.
      The boxes on each side of the lower auditorium to have draperies between arches and drapery on brass rail in front of seats.
      Each bidder to submit design and sample of the kind and quality of goods and trimmings he intends to use.
      All the preceding must be furnished and installed on or before the 10th of December, 1918, by order of the Committee.
                  DAVID TITUS, Chairman Com

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 47
Saturday, January 18, 1919, page 7
      Bids are wanted for the management of the theatre in the new Miners Institute building at Collinsville, Ill., to take charge February 1st. Bids must be presented in person to the board of trustees at 10 a. m. Sunday, January 26th. Experience necessary and references required.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 48
Saturday, January 25, 1919
Notice to the Public.
      The Collinsville Public Library has moved to the second floor of the Miners Institute. We wish to thank publicly the miners organization for their kindness in giving us a room.

The Advertiser, Collinsville, Illinois
Volume 8, Number 48
Saturday, August 14, 1920, Page 8
Miners Institute Trustees Organize and Choose Officers.
      The trustees of the Miners Institute, chosen from the various miners locals held their meeting the latter part of last week and organized by electing their officers. They are, Paul Franzi, president; Harry B. Ewing, secretary; James P. Darmody, treasurer, and Gid Simpson, David Wilson, Charles Hagenbruch, Edward Zebio and Lon Giger

Daily Illini, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Volume 55 Number 47
Saturday, November 7, 1925, Page 8
      Miners locals have built the Labor Temples in Staunton, Collinsville, Royalton, Johnson City, Harrisburg, West Frankfort, Valier, Session, Rand, Pentsehler, Ledford, Colp, Kincaid, LaSalle, New Baden, Sandoval, Westfield and. Sunfield. In Staunton, the miners building is known as the Labor temple and was designed to house a wide range of community activities, including a theater, a ballroom, banquet hall, reading rooms, and offices.
      The Staunton miners were pioneers in the Labor Temple movement in mining communities. The Collinsville Miners' Institute is a brick structure that also houses a theater, reading rooms, a library, and meeting halls.
Staunton Labor Temple

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