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The Arcada Theater was built in 1926 by local millionaire and Chicago Tribune cartoonist Lester J. Norris. The new theater was a $500,000 example of the Norris family's confidence in the future of St. Charles . With only 5,000 residents in town, 1,009 seats were installed. A popular stop on the Vaudeville circuit, the Arcada was described in the St. Charles Chronicle in this quote: There may be larger theatres in Chicago , but for beauty of auditorium and artistic stage setting, there are none superior to the Arcada of St. Charles.
Upon the Arcada's grand opening, the public came in such large numbers that hundreds were unable to gain entrance. Chicagoans arrived by a special railway car to see the featured film The Last Frontier and the Vaudeville acts of Fibber McGee and Molly Lor. Patrons also heard a recital on the famous $25,000 Marr and Colton silver and red organ, which was adorned with flamingo carvings.