• Opening DayOpening 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.

  • 1927

    Bob Hope appears in "Roberta."

  • coronadoelmi1928

    First talking picture: Al Jolson’s song in “Mammy.”

  • September 1928

    First all-talking film shown in new Vitaphone: “Lights of the City.”

  • 1930-Marx-Bros1930

    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.

  • 1970

    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.

  • 1979

    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.’”

  • 1980

    Entered on the State of Illinois Register of Historic Sites; made a historical landmark of the City of Rockford.

  • 1984

    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.