May 19, 2011

Theater Past

Before TV, Computers & Smart Phones
This post is related to another post 
but first this one!

The Popularity of Theaters in Chicago Takes Off!
an article from 1908
and in 1910
The Early Theater Listings
(click image to enlarge)
The list of movie houses of interest were located near the neighborhood of Lake View and mentioned in 1914: 
Julian on Belmont Avenue
Stevens on Broadway
Esthena on Southport Avenue
Clearmont on Clark Street
Halsted on Halsted Street
Victoria on Sheffield Avenue
(currently called the Vic)
Keystone on Sheridan Road
Vitagraph on Lincoln Avenue
Lake Shore on Broadway
Parkway on Clark Street - just south of Diversey
Moving Picture World Apr-June 1915
Other evils of movie pictures 

1938 listings from Chicago Daily Tribune

The Theaters of Old Lake View
The Julian
on Belmont Avenue
image - Chicago History in Postcards
 postcard - Ebay
The Julian had a 766 seat capacity that opened in 1909. The theater housed vaudeville acts as well as silent film and talkies. According to a contributor to Cinema Treasures this theater was the home of Scandinavian talking pictures until the beginning of World War II when distribution of materials from Europe became a issue.  
photo - Cinema Treasures 
via Tim O'Neil via Historic Chicago-Facebook
sign on theater reads
 'closed for summer to the Buckingham [movie house]'
918 W Belmont Avenue
photo - Cinema Treasures
Moving Picture World Oct-Dec 1911 pages 125-6
My thanks to Brian Wolf via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
a 1937 article about this Swedish movie house
Ingrid Bergman (Swedish-American) apparently performed at the Julian. I would assume the theater changed hands several times since the buildings demolition in 2005 when the building last housed a house of worship. According to another site web contributor a world class pipe organ was installed in 1924 – the same basic design used by the Mormon Tabernacle in 1901. 
a Kimball pipe organ below
3952 N Broadway
1st quarter of the 20th century
1915 ad Chicaog Daily Tribune
Cinema Treasures does not have any useful information on this movie house. The 1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map has this location as a ‘filling station’. The 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map does not show a theater at that general location. My guess, the theater did not survive that long. 
1912 -1929?
2011 photo - Google Map
This theater was apparently located near Sheffield Avenue and Diversey according to Chicago Daily News classified section via Chicago Public Library online search. I did no to see the theater imprint on either the 1894 or 1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  
The Clarendon
text - Movie Theatres of Illinois
The City
text  - Movie Theatres of Illinois
The Barry 
text  - Movie Theatre of Illinois 
The Garden Theater
I have no further information on this theater beyond this 
1923 Sanborn Fire Map that highlights a 1000 seat capacity
3326-3328 N Clark Street
The Claremont was located on North Clark Street north of Belmont. According to Cinema Treasures this theater opened during the 1910’s and closed by the end of World War II. In 1924 a 
Robert Moron Pipe Organ was installed in the theater for background music for the silent films. Their may have been a name/spelling change to this theater. According to a movie section of a 1916 Daily News the theater is spelled 'Clermont'.
1923 Sanborn Map view
images from Warner Printing Company 
both images from 1932 
Swedish was the language of the day
photo - Cinema Treasures
Once the location of a counter-culture shop from 1974 
until 2015. The Alley had an interesting history of its own! 
photo - Yelp
 an actually alley entrance to back of the shop
shop interior - Yelp
The building façade was saved for a new structure
photo - abc7Chicago with 
a new look for The Alley location
2021 photo by me of the old facade and the new building
(later called The Mode)
on Sheridan Road

1936 page of photos from Box Office Magazine
IDOT Collection via Uptown Chicago History
The Keystone Theater operating under the Essaness theater circuit apparently opened in 1913. These chain or circuit of theaters operated over 30 theaters by 1947. An Art-Deco façade was replace the original theater and renamed Mode Theater. By the late 1950’s to the late 1960’s the theater was renamed again as the Festival that would show Spanish language films for a new audience. 
photo- Art Instiute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
photo- Art Instiute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
the theater's less then respectable past - 1970's
photo - Bob Rehak Photography 
below 1975 photo - UIC via Explore Chicago Collection
The Pine Grove
The theater with many names
1914 - 1960's
a 1915 ad in the movie section
with several name changes & property owners
717-19 Sheridan Road per this 1923 Sanborn Fire Map
The 700 seat Pine Grove Theater opened ownership with the 
Alfred Hamburger-Lubliner Trinz theater circuit. Architect J.E.O. Pridmore redesigned the theater when it was renamed the Panorama by 1927, when it was then acquired by the Essaness theater chain according to Cinema Treasures. Once again in 1929, the theater was renamed Little Theatre. The name was returned to the Panorama from 1932-1939.  By about the late 1950's and with another name change to the Essex, and then once again the changed names to be known as the Guild - operated into the early 1960's. The newly named Essex Theater, much like the Guild, had a checkered history with the community. The theater was located on a residential street with issues with its neighbors. The Guild was demolished by 1963 to be later replaced years later by a new type of apartment building for the era called the 4+1- later to be renovated in 2010's. 
The Chicago Tribune articles below tell the tale of development along North Pine Grove including a 650 theater complex. The last article is dated  before the Great Depression of 1929.
Plans for the Panorama in 1927 
The ownership of the property did not last long! 1929
3709 N Southport Avenue
1913 - unknown date
There were/are a string for other theaters along Southport Avenue such as the Mercury and Music Box. It was built in 1913 as a 
one-story brick building. The theater was renamed Southport Theater in 1923 according to Cinema Treasures.
 the general area on Southport Avenue
with a zoomed view of the theater from above map
3810 N Broadway/Grace Street
1916 - mid 1960's
The complex was called Vogue by the mid-century
The main entrance was on Grace by 1927
and located across the street to the 
Bismarck/Marigold Gardens (Facebook album)
photo - Theatre Historical of America via Explore Chicago
 the general area in 1923 per Sanborn Fire Map
below is a zoomed view of the theater from map above
 further zoomed 1923
negative - Chicago Hisory Muesum
photo via Cinema Treasures
The Chateau Theater entrance was located on Broadway  north of Grace Street. The Flora Building (theater space within) was designed by August C. Willmanns and property owned by Russian born 
Albert Fuchs and operated by Ascher Brothers theater circuit.The building had several offices, a upstairs ballroom, 22 lanes of bowling, and 22 billiards tables that was next to Fuchs luxury apartment building of the same name. In order to highlight this theater I must mention that the owner of the building also owned most of the property from Broadway to Rokeby (Fremont), Sheridan Road to Grace Street - see map above. Before converting his property to a series of buildings Mr. Albert Fuch owned a greenhouse on Broadway near the Grace according to a 1894 Sanborn Fire Map which is show below. Mr. Fuch was a horticulturist by trade owning another greenhouse on the westside of Halsted Street north of Addison. 
The plans for a theater was across the street
from the Bismarck Gardens in 1915
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map view of the theater 
that was within a larger building complex
Paying Rent on Halsted & Grace in 1916
Details of the theater space in 1916
a 1919 Chicago Daily Tribune ad

A Program Booklet
via Cinema Treasures

A Theatre Review in 1919
from Motion Picture Magazine

Fuch's other building would be originally called
The Sheridan-Broadway Hotel
renovated in the mid 2010's
The planned development for the entire block 1922
(the plan was completely realized)
If you look closely you will see the horseshoe roof of the theater along Grace Street. Broadway Avenue is to the left of image and Sheridan Road in the forefront. Across the street on Grace on the southwest corner of Halsted and Grace was the famous 
Bismarck-Marigold Gardens (Facebook link). The planned development of the entire area did not happened due the Fuch's family desire to move to California by 1920's.
Becomes Vogue Theater in 1947
According to Diane Wasserman-Drell
'When I was young, (early 1950's) it cost 25 cents to go to the Vogue Theatre and see a movie plus the cartoons in the beginning. Sometimes they had double features. My brother always took me with him per my parents request. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. That should be Grace Street on the right where that reddish/brownish building is. Edwards restaurant was right near there, too on the east side of the street. My mother and I walked everywhere up and down Broadway. We lived on Patterson Avenue, one block north of Addison -- in-between Waveland and Addison. It was a great neighborhood way back when. I've often regretted that my parents moved to suburbia when I was about to turn 10 yrs. old. I loved Le Moyne School then, too and it was amazing that Le Moyne was far ahead of the north suburban schools back then. There was a large Woolworths store at the corner of Irving Park and Broadway SE side of the street, and Edward's (great food) was in the next block (east side of the street past Grace) to the north.'
A Gloria Swanson Movie at the Vogue 1931
The Flora Building in 1946
A Tavern inside the Building 
images - Ebay 

A 1950 Sanborn Fire Map of the Area
this 1950 map indicates the planned development unfulfilled
zoomed below from image above
One of the Several Shops 
that was located in the old Flora Building 
that included the theater and bowling alley
apparently once located along Broadway 
within the old theater building
 via Chicago Public Library
The Owners:
The Fuch Family Presence
The family who owned theater had a residence in the apartment complex now part of the Chicago Park District 
on Sheridan Road west of Broadway
 postcard - Chuckman Collection
The actual location was on Sheridan Road just west of Broadway where Clarendon routes north and Broadway routes northwest. According to a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map these cluster of flats were indeed on West Sheridan Road 
a 1909 advertisement - Chicago Public Library
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map view in red east of alley
postcard - Chuckman Collection
Mr. Fuchs & family left the floral business 
and planned to lease his holdings including the
Flora Building along with the theater in 1921
The Man and Property - Albert Fuchs
The Family Moves West in 1921
Mr. Fuchs leases but not sells his properties 1927 
In 1926 the theater space became a venue for burlesque entertainment. In 1930 Essaness theaters leased the building and apparently remodeled the interior. It was to be renamed The Vogue Theater with a new type of venue in 1926
photo - Trolley Dodger
highlights both the former Chateau Theater and Hotel
on the intersection of Grace/Broadway/Halsted
New Theater Owner in 1928
The Essaness Circuit leases the Chateau Theater in 1930

Properties reorganized 1933
on this spot is ...
located on corner of Broadway and Sheridan Road
After a modest fire in 1958 the building was used as a venue for boxing matches much like the old Marigold Gardens across the street on Grace Street that  featured welterweights like Virgil Akins
photo - Chicago Park District
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map view with current labels
This park space once housed the Chateau Apartments
a 1995 planned image of the park
and just south of the city park
By 2013 the once Fuch's planned development, turned into a SRO was purchased and renovated to a mix market-rate single occupancy apartment building.  The high-rise in the background was the location of the Albert Fuchs' once 
Flora Building that once housed the Chateau/Vogue Theater.
The only building left as of 2017
Below is a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map of the hotel along Broadway south of Sheridan Road
on Lincoln Avenue
1914 - mid 1930's
The Vitagraph Theater was established by 1914 and sat 1000 patrons. In 1925 the theater was purchased by Lubliner & Trinz circuit of theaters according the Cinema Treasure.
In the 1930's The old Belmont-Lincoln-Ashland shopping district of Lake View had a new retailer located at 3149-53 N Lincoln Avenue called the  Goldblatts Department Store. Goldblatts converted the old theater during the Great Depression of 1929 and expanded south into the old theater space to 3133-41. In a matter of a few years another grand shopping experience would be located on Lincoln Avenue.
Sanborn Fire Maps of the Area
 The general location of the theater along with a mention of the Lincoln-Hippodome Theater on Ashland in 1923
 a zoomed view of the theater as 'Motion Pictures' in 1923

This 1950 map indicates the initial location of the store as it moved south to the old theater space
image - Imperial Realty Company
on Ashland/Clark
The Lincoln - Hippodrome was built in 1912 with an entrance address of 3162 N Lincoln Avenue. The theater was designed by a local architect named Robert C. Berlin. The theater's seating capacity is 1590 patrons in 1923. At the time it was one of the largest theaters in Chicago’s north-side. The Lincoln was built for W. A. Wieboldt, founder of the department store chain bearing his name that were once scattered all over Chicago including the old Lake View Belmont-Lincoln District. This building originally cost $3000,000.  The word 'hippodrome' is sometimes used as a extravagant name for a modern circus; a theater used for various staged entertainments. The interior of this building must have seem enormous! 
The Wieboldt Connection
text image - Lake View Saga
A Playbill 1916
via Chicago Public Library
While the exterior was a mixture of neoclassical and Renaissance styles, the interior was originally described at the time a 'Persian' and “Oriental” design. The theater building was one of the earliest larger-sized theaters in Chicago to be air-conditioned, and was noted for its excellent acoustics, then a cutting-edge technology with stylish decor. For most of the 1910's and 20's, the theater was part of the Orpheum theater circuit, and primarily used as was a vaudeville house, as well as silent movies. According to Cinema Treasures the theater was still operated by the Orpheum Circuit by 1926. It wasn’t until later in the 1920’s and 1930’s that the theater turned to a movie house exclusively. In 1930, when Ashland Avenue was widened, the theater lost a small portion of its auditorium, reducing seating capacity to about 300. The theater remained in operation until about 1950. In 1952, the theater building was gutted and transformed into a retail store.
on Lincoln Avenue

photo - Cinema Treasures
According to Cinema Treasures, The Strand opened in 1914 and was located on 3033 N Lincoln Avenue near Wellington. The theater seated 699 patrons. By the 1940’s the theater had been renamed the City Theater, which apparently operated into the 1960’s 
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map .
a general view of the area in 1923
with a zoomed view of this 1923 Sanborn Fire Map
A Theater on Pine Grove
1914 - 1954
via Benjamin Yolarski 'Chicago Before We Were Born' /Facebook
postcard - Ebay
photo - Theatre Historical of America via Explore Chicago
The entrance was 3319 Clark - X marks the spot
 .... and initially called the Glenwood Theater in 1911
Moving Picture World Oct-Dec 1911 pages 125-6
My thanks to Brian Wolf via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook 
 part of my collection
image - Cinema Treasures
“In 1931, the Buckingham was one of many theaters purchased by Warner Bros. In 1933, it was robbed 3 times in one week, netting a total of $39 for the burglars and severely unnerving the two box office girls. It may have closed as early as 1953. Although Organic did not open at the Buckingham until 1981, plans to do so were in place as early as 1976. It took some time to raise funds, and there were numerous setbacks along the way before the National Endowment of the Arts issued a matching grant and the building was donated. When it opened in 1981, it had 299 seats and was reconfigured substantially from its days as a movie theater.” 
Organic Theatre had a home 
in the Buckingham Theater 1977
(click to enlarge article)
2016 Google Map Views
 the entrance building on Clark Street still remains called the Buckingham Building. While the main theater has been replaced the memory of the theater remains above the garage door indicating the theater's name
a zoomed view below of the name of the theater below
The Lake Shore 
3175 N Broadway
built in 1915
 a 1916 view via Cinema Treasures
a 1928 interior view via Cinema Treasures
photo - Louis H Afreda via LakeView Historical-Facebook
the original entrance way photo - Cinema Treasures
1923 Sanborn Fire Map indicates 'Motion Pictures',
The address of this theater was 3175 Broadway per map above with a seating capacity of 514 - built in 1914 according to Cinema Treasures. Cineplex-Odeon theater company gave the old Lake Shore Theater a renovation in the 1980 and named it Broadway Cinema until the year 2000.  Due to high running costs on the aging theater, the theater was closed on April 10, 2010, but was re-opened in November 2011 as The Laugh Factory -  a venue for live comedic performances.
Saul Smaizys via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
via Susan Reibman Groff, LakeView Historical-Facebook
A testimonial
Jim Huffman on December 2, 2016
"I lived & grew up, in this neighborhood  near Belmont & Broadway from 1945 to 1970. [I] attended Nettelhorst grade school. I saw many movies at the Lake Shore throughout that time period. Although small, it was a very neat, well-kept theater, but without the ginger-bread, exterior had an exterior art-deco motif back then. Curved smoothed metal siding, colors were yellow & red. The front had a small independent 1-person ticket booth, now removed. A small door in the rear of the booth provided access and to the front theater doors behind. People could walk all the way around the booth, although narrow about 3-foot wide passage. Movie posters along the sides. Originally had greater seating, but I understand some seats were removed for more stage."
unknown source & date
1991 photo -
It was renamed the Broadway Cinema, because of its location on Broadway just south of Belmont Avenue
and renamed once again
sources & dates unknown
the latest venue below
In 2011 an Los Angeles based comedy club called the 
Laugh Factory moved in the existing space converting the interior with a five million dollar renovation along 
with a 1/2 million marquee. 
on Clark 1916-1958
photo via Cinema Treasures
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Map view
According to Cinema Treasures the Covent Garden Theater, opened in 1916 operated with the Lubliner & Trinz circuit. The theater originally capacity of 2,684 with 3 balconies - one of the largest theaters in the Lake View/Lincoln Park area of Chicago with an entrance address of 2655 N Clark Street. It featured vaudeville and stage shows as well as motion pictures. The theater was remodeled in 1934 by the firm of Pereira & Pereira. Around the 1950’s, the “Garden” portion of the theater’s name was dropped. The theater was later operated by the Balaban & Katz chain.The theater was part of a complex which also included a hotel. As of 2016 the old hotel building & remains as an SRO - the theater long gutted.
 a 2016 Google view indicates the gutting of the theater for an parking entrance and the parking lot below where the main theater once stood
on Diversey Parkway
Levy & Klein architectural 1925 sketching 
via Cinema Treasures
image - Art Institute of Chicago
via Joe Jakubik, Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
1925 photo - Uraiwan Dutkiewicz via Cinema Treasures
page from a book - Ebay

1934 photo - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
Old Chicago Neighborhood: Remembering Life in the 1940’s by Neil Samors and Michael Williams
postcards - Ebay
Read the comments from Living History of Illinois and Chicago-on Facebook via Jayne Hengl Kranc
 This 1950 Sanborn Fire Map indicates the general area of the theater with a zoomed view below
This theater opened in 1924 designed in Spanish Baroque style by architect Edward Eichenbaum of the firm of Levy & Klein whose work also included the Granada in Rogers Park and the Marbro in Garfield Park. The theater was remodeled in an Art Deco style in the early 1930's with a seating capacity of 3,800 and an entrance address of 2816 N Clark Street - renamed the The Century, in honor of the Century of Progress World’s Fair that was held in Chicago in 1933.
1966 negative - Chicago History Muesum
1970's photos - Saul Smaizys via Flickr 
via Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection

photos - C. William Brubaker Collection via UIC 1978 
with a video history of sorts
In 1973 the theater was closed, the interior was completely gutted converted as multi-level shopping mall 
according to Cinema Treasures
1982 photo - Thomas White via David Zonig
1975 negatives - Chicago History Museum
photo - Urainwan Dutkiewics
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Ken Vosburgh, Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Urainwan Dutkiewics
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Urainwan DutkiewicsForgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Cinema Treasures
2014 photo - unknown source
According to a 2013 DNAinfo article the Bai Century LLC, a joint venture of Israeli companies based out of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., owns the property, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. The owners seek to replace the historic front of the building at 2828 N. Clark St. with windows so that more retail or medical offices could be put in, Tunney said he was told in a meeting. Since the building is not land-marked, the city has little recourse against the change as of 2014.
2017 photo above - Uraiwan Dutkiewicz 
2016 photo below - Garry Albrecht
The Belmont Theater
on Belmont Avenue
from the Chicago Daily Newspaper in 1924
via Chicago Public Library
image - Historic Movie Theater of Illinois

photos - Chicago History Museum in 1927

1929 image - Lake View Saga 
The Belmont Theater was one of the more popular north-side Chicago movie houses for it was surrounded by a bustling retail hub and was located close to public transportation near the intersection of Belmont, Ashland, and Lincoln Avenues.  The theater opened in 1925 for the Lubliner & Trinz theater circuit and was taken over by the Balaban & Katz chain in 1930. The Belmont was designed by W.W. Ahlschlager, who was also the architect of the Roxy and Beacon Theatres in New York City. This 3200-plus seat palace was originally a venue for both live entertainment and movies, but later turned to movies only. It had a brief history as a bowling alley and later renovated into condos.
photos - Cinema Treasures
Sanborn Map Views of the Area

 a 1950 Sanborn Fire Map view of the general area
with zoomed view below
 photos - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
 photo - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
 photo - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
photo - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection

images - Frank Dutton 
via Motion Picture News June 24, 1927
an opener advertisement 
a blog called Frank's Place

In the mid 1960's the movie house was converted into a bowling alley until closing in the mid 1980's.
 Text image from Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View by Patrick Butler
Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog

matchbook - Chuckman Collection
1963 advertisement
Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog
The 1973 Fire
Only the facade could have been saved - Ebay
In 1996 a mixed condominium and retail complex were built on the site of the old Belmont Theater/Bowl with its interior gutted with the exterior preserved. According to Curb Chicago in 2012 the 7th floor penthouse was marketed for almost 500k. Apparently, the "spacious combined living/dining area, with exposed duct-work & rich hardwood, thrive in all the natural light. And with south and west exposures, it manages some pretty 'boss' views of the skyline from the roof top deck. 
Ivanhoe Playhouse Theater 
on Clark Street/Wellington Avenue 
It began as a tavern-speakeasy and then to a nationally recognized playhouse by the 1966. This establishment was one of the first of its kind to blend a live theater performance with a leisurely homemade meal, hence called a 'playhouse'.
postcard image - Ebay
telephone exchange was 'GRAceland 2771' prior to 1948
This 1950 Sanborn Fire Map indicated the location.
The word 'restaurant' is faint on the illustrative map
This 1950 Sanborn Fire Map indicates a status as a restaurant - pre playhouse
photo - Craig's Lost Chicago via Pinterest
photo via Sue Sacharski via LakeView Historical-Facebook apparently early 50's
photo via Sue Sacharski via LakeView Historical-Facebook apparently early 50's
1975 photos - Chicago Museum
the parking lot east of Clark
photo via Lance Grey
the parking lot sign from across the street on Clark
photo - part of my collection

photo - Calumet 412
1956 photo - Chuckman Collection 
photo - Calumet 412
 A plate with brief history in back - Ebay
 a mailer - Ebay

Some Dinner Menus 
front cover image - an advertisement mailer

inside menu image - Ebay
 cover of another menu - Ebay 
Restaurant becomes a Playhouse 1966
The Ivanhoe Theater takes its name from an notable novel now occupied by Binny’s that dates back to the 1920’s. Originally designed in an 'In-The-Round' configuration, the theater was opened as a commercial dinner/theater operation in 1966 that served as a showcase for director George Keathley that established a new type of theater called a playhouse. His string of successes included the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Out Cry and Status Quo Vadis, a comedy which ran for more than a year before transferring to Broadway District in New York with its young and unknown Chicago star, Bruce Boxleitner. 
Jason Roth, a contributor to Forgotten Chicago-Facebook, mentioned that “Lots of shows performed there in the 70's such as Ronnie Spector, Southside Johnny, Tom Waits, Mink DeVille, Herbie Hancock & Jaco Pastorius, Meatloaf, Crystal Gayle, Link Wray, Kiki Dee, Ramsay Lewis, Rita Moreno, Elvin Bishop, and Dolly [Patton]!”
a 1966 playbill - Ebay
Performing in 1969
1968 image - Chicago Daily Tribune  
Performiong in 1967
Zsa Zsa Gabor
photos - Chicago History Museum
Performing in 1976
Comedian David Steinberg
photos - Chicago History Museum
leading off with Peter Allen
dining before the show in 1976
The Various Interior Views of the Building
(click to enlarge image)
Spirits - Ebay
The Cropped Views of Above Image
a postcard view - Chuckman Collection
a in color mailer
a 1970 article about the next season

 1955 Chuckman Collection
image - Ebay
The plate is labeled as the Ivanhoe Overthrows The Templar. On the border areas of the plate are Rebecca, The Templar, Wamba, Coeur De Lion, Lady Rownana, and Ivanhoe according to Ebay.
Swizzle Stick for those cocktails
image - Ebay

Ivanhoe Caroline Lee Bouvier 
- sister-in-law to President Kennedy
Sampling of the Playbills
from Ebay


Popular Off-Loop Theater by 1970

A Special Tax for this Special Theater/Playhouse in 1971

Trying to hang-on by 1974

and across the street on Clark to the east
was the 'message board
My thanks to LVH contributor David Syfczak 
for identification of this photo
A Make-Over in May of 1975

an ashtray - Ebay
Theater is purchased but to Remain as a Theater
 in May 1975
On the Block to be Sold Again
 Rick Nelson ticket 1977 - Ebay

 an matchbook 
 Chuckman Collection - unknown date 
image - Chuckman Collection
 token - image Ebay
Reinventing itself yet Again in 1976

one of the performers apparently recorded an album
at the theater in 1976

The song list:
Virginia Avenue Album 
Side 1 - Track 1. Invitation To The Blues
Side 1 - Track 2. Virginia Avenue
Side 1 - Track 3. Jitterbug Boy
Side 1 - Track 4. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work
Side 1 - Track 5. Fumblin' With The Blues
Side 2 - Track 1. Small Change
Side 2 - Track 2. Eggs & Sausage
Side 2 - Track 3. The Piano Has Been Drinking
Side 2 - Track 4. Tom Traubert's Blues
Some Tickets
Remembrances of Performances Past’- Blogspot
Earl Scruggs ticket 1977- Ebay
Bill Quateman ticket 1977
Dolly Parton ticket 1977
The Fire
photo Ebay

By October of the same year theater looking a bit chard from the outside but was back in business according to the Chicago Tribune via Chicago Public Library online section
 The Beginning of the End - March 1977
In October of 1977
Southside Johnny with Ronnie Spector May 1977
image -  Jerome Hughs via Pinterest
Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones - July 1977
photo via Robert Duncan/Pinterest
The New Owner?? in 1979

Once known as the 'Seventh Wonder of Chicago' 
Condo's Planned in 2000
photo minus the statue above the door - unknown source
According to Performmink article dated 2000 "the days may be numbered for one of Chicago’s oldest, largest and most historic 
off-Loop venues, the Ivanhoe Theatre located at 750 W Wellington (corner of Wellington & Clark). According to the article the building would have been demolished within the next 12-18 months and replaced by condominiums in accordance to a proposal proposed by Chicago-based Atlas Development Corporation. A tentative agreement was reached between the Ivanhoe’s principal owner, Douglas Bragan, and Atlas president Steven Siegel for the sale of the 11,000 square foot building while keeping as much as the old theater facade as functionally possible".
Another Shot to Keep it Open in 1982
An Owner Dies
with a brief historical summary
(click to enlarge)
The Buildings Next Owner in 1990
Gold Standard listed their location not Chicago but Ivanhoe
(see x below - from above 1990 ad)
After Gold Standard its Binny's Depot
2007 photo - Mark Susina via Flickr
the entrance to the old catacombs
 2013 photo - Garry Albrecht  
 Current interior that leads to the basement 
once referred to as the Catacombs    
The Catacombs - then and now
1940's - Chuckman Collection 

Sarfatty Associates reinforced the basement and kept the basis floor design of the old catacombs.
Ivanhoe Playhouse Commentary
 from Forgotten Chicago-Facebook 
John Olson
Saw some shows there in the mid to late 70's. Martin Mull and Flo and Eddie (aka the Turtles).
Bernie Biernacki
My parents went there on the 40’s and my wife and I ate there twice, and even saw a play there in the 70’s. I think Bruce Boxlitner (sp) was in it. My dad always talked about "riding down into the catacombs."
Bob Mucci
I remember the fake elevator that made it seem you went down a hundred feet. But the building is a Binny's booze emporium now.Yes, and there was a little window and they had a scroll of a brick wall that kept running real fast behind the window to make you think you were descending far and fast.
Bernie Biernacki
Bob, I remember the elevator well. You stepped into it and when the door closed it started shaking and shuddering. When it stopped another door open you were in the catacombs - just next to where you entered the "elevator".
Stan Barker 
Bernie, the fake elevator gimmick goes back to a "Subterranean Theater" that was proposed, never built, during the 1893 World's Fair. In the mid-1960s, when I was a kid, that gimmick was used at a "Gold Mine" attraction at Fort Dells amusement park in Wisconsin Dells. I never went to the Ivanhoe... closest I got was buying rickets to the Sex Pistols who were supposed to play there, New Year's Eve 1977. They broke up and cancelled their tour before they got to Chicago. I cashed my ticket back in. My old girlfriend hung on to hers, still has it - Worth some money now.
Sue M Paula 
"Please, please let me out"! Remember the spooky trip down the fake elevator and the woman screaming?
Ivanhoe was a fabulous place!!
Jan Zweerts
As a kid we went there. When a certain paving stone was stepped on a air driven dummy would rear up to scare you. Spooky, but fun.
Paul Igasaki
Yes. Went with my parents to see a play there in the seventies. Remember the seats around the stage and a bedroom scene that my parents didn't expect me to see.
Ken Dietz
Went there several times in the 70's to see music acts---The Four Seasons being one of them. The Sex Pistols were scheduled to play there but they broke up before the scheduled date. The Ivanhoe was going to remove all the seats just for that show. Two Ton also had a puppet on his show by the name of 'Bubbles'. Two Ton would sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and the puppet would appear. I think the set of his show had a pirates theme.
Marcey Wadas Crylen
Went to the Ivanhoe for dinner after a Christmas dance at DePaul and met Two Ton Baker!
Nancy Kesseler Adams
Our favorite as children was Two Ton Baker. We saw him in person once - a charming man who truly loved children. There is a link somewhere (I'll check) with the songs he sang. It's a nice site. Brings back memories!

Angie Naron via Flickr  in 2010    
The Owners Inspiration    
photos - Ebay

          The North Center Theater
Community of Ravenswood
4037-41 N Lincoln Avenue
1926 - mid 1960's
 photo - Cinema Treasures
 photo - Cinema Treasures
 a 1950 Sanborn Map of the theater area
with a zoomed view of the entrance address of 
4037-41 Lincoln Avenue
images - Cinema Treasures
The Parkway 
Community of Lincoln Park
2738 N Clark Street
images via John Swiatek Chicagopedia-Facebook
 a new beginning in 1980 

 Closed in 1984
currently retail space 
2015 photo - Google Maps
Sheridan Theater 
Neighborhood of Buena Park, Community of Uptown
along Sheridan Road north of Irving Park Road
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago
Across the street and yards away from Irving Park Road on Sheridan Road in the community of Buena Park and currently the official neighborhood of Uptown their was this theater that was built in 1927. The seating capacity of this theater was 2540. The neighborhood of Uptown was the home a several grand theaters of the early 20th century.
 the general area of this theater per this 1950 Sanborn Fire Map with a zoomed view of it below

Another view with other photos
via Frank's Place blog 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
 Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
matchbook - Ebay

1936 image - IDOT Collection 
with St. Mary of the Lake steeple in the background
photo - Calumet 412
1947 photo - Chuckman Collection
along Sheridan Road at Irving Park Road
an artist view - Ebay
The grand buildings of Chicago's theaters that once sparkled throughout the city are credited by the insight and influence of A.J. Balaban, Barney Balaban, Sam Katz, and Morris Katz who formed the Balaban & Katz Theatre Corporation in 1925. This group planned theaters like the Uptown, Diversey, Pantheon, Belmont, Rivera, among others.
Sold in 1951 
by Peter Strazzabosco in 1991
'Once one of the finest theaters in the country, the Sheridan Theatre now serves as a premier playhouse for vandals, the homeless, and the curious. The front doors now stand open for months at a time, even though the theater has been closed for years. Reckless renovation, fires, and public dumping have all but destroyed the building's original magnificence. There were plans to resuscitate it a few years ago, but strangely enough they were scuttled by the city. Now two organizations have submitted competing renovation proposals to the city, and if officials think one of them is feasible, the street people may finally have to move out.' Read the entire Reader article with the link above.
According to Cristal Garica the terra cotta on the pediment of the theater sold for $199,000 by the new owners, Anshe Emet Synagogue, in the 1950's.
The Demo in 1994
photos - Scott Vermillion 
via Living History of Illinois and Chicago-Facebook

The Other Theaters 
that were in the local area

My thanks to Brian Wolf via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
by Urban Remains
'Atmospheric theaters gained popularity in the 1920's, and are distinguished as an architectural style that used theater design to extend the cinematic experience, to imaginatively transport the audience with the decor. a plain dome gave space for projections of clouds, simulating the night sky with twinkling "star lights," and walls were decorated to appear as an exotic locale or an outdoor space.' Read/view more ...

Post Notes: 
Uptown Theater Restoration?
photo by Dean Ogren via Greg Harris
According to Uptown Update via the Chicago Tribune another attempt to save the Uptown Theater from the wrecking ball was announced in 2018. Will this time work?? While this theater is not located in Lake View I thought a honorable mention was due to its civic significance and former beauty.
 photos - Theatre Historical Society of America
 photo - Chicago Public Library 1987
 photo - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection
photo - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection
photo - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection
 photo - Chicago Reader
photo - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection 
photos - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection
Other Post Notes of Interest
View my posts about the theaters of the present and current local community theatre
Also, view the list of all the theaters in Chicago (p. 40) associated with Balaban & Katz Company.

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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