The Elks Airdome in downtown Galesburg was the community's first outdoor movie theater. The Elks Club located at the southwest corner of Prairie and Simmons streets entered the local amusement field the summer of 1914 with the erection of a stately outdoor movie theatre on an empty lot south of their club quarters.
The decision to offer outdoor movies under the stars grew out of the fact that the Colonial Movie House on South Prairie Street would close down for remodeling during the summer months and both the Auditorium and Gaiety houses would close from June through August.
An attractive stucco entrance was constructed on Prairie Street to welcome movie fans. A large stage containing a modern radium fiber screen was placed at the rear of the property and comfortable seating to accommodate 500 people was offered.
The outdoor movie palace was operated under the auspices of the Elks Club and managed by R.C. Schroeder of the Colonial Theatre. Advertisements in local newspapers announced that The Lid Is Off and will never be placed on the new Elks Airdome which was to open June 1, with continuous shows for only 5 cents from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The first movie offered was Chelsea 7750 starring Henry E. Dixey.
From "Downtown remembrances from bygone days" by Tom Wilson. Read full article at: http://www.galesburg.com/columnists/x1751716568/Downtown-remembrances-from-bygone-days