Miner's Institute Foundation Mission Statement:
The Miner's Institute Foundation (MIF) is a non-profit corporation
organized by volunteer citizens for the purpose of raising funds for the rehabilitation and support of the Miner's Institute.
The Miner's Institute Foundation will support the advancement
of the arts and recreation by cultivating, promoting, bolstering,
sponsoring and developing in our community an appreciation and understanding of all the arts and recreation.
The Miner’s Theatre is associated with the City’s first most important industry, mining. The first
coal mine was sunk in Collinsville in 1857. The town grew with the industry and by 1886 a man could
walk underground through connecting tunnels between the mines from one edge of the City limits to
the other. Mining and Collinsville were almost synonymous terms.
In 1916, a representative of the United Mine Workers of America Local 264
convinced fellow miners that a union hall and public theatre should be built.
The structure was multi-purposed. The theatre brought entertainment to the City of a
class not usually seen in cities of this size. The second and third floors gave a permanent home for the
union offices and provided a central meeting place for the mining locals. These floors were also used by
various community groups for social activities and housed a small library which was the beginning of
the present day Collinsville Memorial Public Library.
The cost of the building was shared by a loan from the state U.M.W.A and the Collinsville union locals.
The locals voted a one percent assessment on each member to provide the sum required for their part.
On December 28, 1918, at a cost of $138,993.26, the building was open to the public.
The opening ceremonies and parade were well attended not only by the miners’ locals,
but by hundreds of other residents.
The Miner’s Theatre continued to prosper but the mines did not.
By 1930 the coal mines had slowly started to close. Restlessness led Collinsville
union locals become members of the Progressive Mine Workers. Since the loans to the U.M.W.A. had
long been paid off, the Collinsville Miners owned the building and thus title was transferred to the
PMW. Even though mining has died out in Collinsville, the influence of this industry and its people are
felt strongly today. The miners left this building as a lasting reminder of their history.
Over the years, Miner's hosted High School Graduations, Dairyman's conventions and other such events
of the day, in addition to the occasional movies being shown in the auditorium. Built in the "vaudeville"
style, the auditorium hosted several traveling troupes as well.
The Collinsville Area Recreation District (CARD) acquired the building from the Miner’s Institute Foundation and began a multi-phase renovation and expansion of the Institute. After the first phase of renovation was completed in 2011, a newly elected CARD board voted to cease the project and return the building to MIF. CARD made many important improvements to the building such as tuck-pointing and masonry repair, gutter and downspout repair, window restoration, new stage lighting, replacement of wood stage supports with steel beams, and the installation of a fire protection system. Unfortunately though, during the renovations, the boiler was damaged beyond repair and because of the change in ownership, the building must be now brought into current building and life safety code compliance. Therefore, MIF is currently raising funds necessarily to install a new boiler system and make the improvements to the building required to be able to re-open Collinsville’s most valuable historic, architectural and cultural asset.
Together, we can reopen Miner’s Theatre