- Opening Day, October 9th, 1927
Opening day of the Coronado Theatre. It was owned by Willard N. Van Matre, Jr. of Rockford and designed by architect Frederick J. Klein in the “atmospheric” style that was popular for movie palaces in the 1920s. The cost was $1.5 million. The exquisite plaster work was created especially for the Coronado. Even the “backs” of the Spanish and Moorish “villages” are complete. Both of the stunning chandeliers were specially designed for the Coronado. The magical ceiling features “stars” and moving “clouds”. The name “Coronado” and the slogan “Rockford’s Wonder Theatre” were chosen through a contest sponsored by the Rockford Register-Gazette.
Bob Hope appears in "Roberta."
First talking picture: Al Jolson’s song in “Mammy.”
- September 1928
First all-talking film shown in new Vitaphone: “Lights of the City.”
The Marx Brothers and Donald O’Conner appear at the Coronado.
- February 1937
Rudy Vallee appears at the Coronado.
- May 1957
Sammy Davis Jr. appears at the Coronado
- October 24th, 1963
Liberace appears at the Coronado.
- February 12th, 1964
Jane Powell appears at the Coronado in “Twenty-Plus Me.”
- September 29th, 1964
Louis Armstrong performs at the Coronado.
- October 27th, 1964
Penny Singleton appears in “Never Too Late.”
- November 17th, 1964
Al Hirt performs at the Coronado.
- February 6th, 1966
Phyllis Diller appears at the Coronado.
- April 21st, 1967
Maurice Chevalier performs at the Coronado.
- May 11th, 1967
Milton Berle performs at the Coronado.
Kerasotes Theatres purchased the Coronado. Members of the Chicago Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts (CATOE) approached the Coronado management for permission to restore the organ and to present organ shows. The group later relinquished the Coronado organ project to a newly formed Rockford based club, the Land of Lincoln Theatre Organ Society.
Entered on the National Register of Historic Places. When the historic landmark status was granted, it was noted that “It is one of the best preserved movie palaces in the country…and was at its inception among the finest of its type…The Coronado is a particularly fine example of the ‘atmospheric’ style of movie theatre pioneered by John Eberson, inspiring the audience to believe that they were enjoying entertainment ‘al fresco.’”
Entered on the State of Illinois Register of Historic Sites; made a historical landmark of the City of Rockford.
Closed to movie business in its 56th year.
- Friends of the Coronado
In 1996 the Friends of the Coronado begins to raise money for the Coronado's renovations.