Route 66 News

Requiem for The Coliseum

A story today by Jason Nevel in the Springfield State Journal-Register all but confirms what we’ve suspected — that the historic Coliseum Ballroom in Benld, Ill., won’t be rebuilt after a fire destroyed it a month ago.

The story instead serves as a sort of requiem for the former music venue, which opened in 1924 a few years before Route 66 was certified. The property sits on an alignment that served as Route 66 from 1926 to 1932.

Some interesting nuggets from the story:

  • A group of six people is encouraging the Coliseum’s owner to donate its porcelain neon sign to the Illinois Route 66 Museum in Pontiac, or build a Coliseum Ballroom museum.
  • By my count, the Coliseum played host to 11 future members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Shadow of a Doubt, the band that was performing on the Coliseum’s stage when the fire broke out, lost more than $40,000 in music equipment in the blaze. Two of the band’s members were hurt. Electrical problems are suspected in the fire.