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Neighborhood Theaters

Various locations,


Chicago was once home to an abundance of neighborhood movie theaters, only a fraction of which still remain in operation. Some continue to function as successful movie houses, such as the Music Box in Lakeview.


 Others have been split into multiplex theaters to stay afloat. Still others remain empty, vulnerable to replacement or in need of costly renovations.


A few examples of these threatened theaters are:





Central Park Theater, 3535 W. Roosevelt Rd.

1917; Rapp & Rapp, architects




House of Prayer, Church of God in Christ has occupied the building since 1971. Although it is a dedicated owner, the congregation is in need of funds for critical repairs. This is one of the oldest movie theaters in Chicago and was operated by Balaban & Katz . 





Gateway Theater, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.

1930; Rapp & Rapp, architects




This 2,000-seat theater is the only remaining atmospheric theater designed by this well-known architectural firm. Its original Art Deco exterior was altered when the Copernicus Center purchased the property in the 1980s, but the auditorium remains intact. The owner is considering selling the building, which could threaten the theater’s future, given current redevelopment pressures surrounding the Milwaukee-Lawrence commercial district. 





New Regal Theater, 1641 E. 79th St.

1927; John Eberson, architect




Originally known as the Avalon, this building is a prime example of an “atmospheric theater,” where the auditorium ceiling resembles a night time sky. Done in an exotic, Moorish design, the theater was renovated in 1985 and given Chicago Landmark designation in 1992. Closed in 2003, the building is for sale at $2.1 million.  FULL SIZE IMAGE





Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd.

1927; Wolff and Buell, architects





The owner ceased operation of this Spanish Renaissance-style theater several years ago. Although it was rehabbed in the 1980s, its atmospheric theater remains intact. The size of the auditorium (1,500 seats), lack of nearby parking, and the absence of a nearby El station makes this a difficult theater to operate.  FULL SIZE IMAGE


For more information, go to the Patio Theater Facebook page.





Uptown Theater, 4816 N. Broadway

1925; Rapp & Rapp, architects




Closed in 1981, this 4,400-seat theater continues to fall victim to deferred maintenance and repairs, ongoing ownership legal battles, and failed attempts at redevelopment plans. It was given Chicago Landmark protection in 1991 and has been listed several times on lists of endangered historic places published by LPCI and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  FULL SIZE IMAGE







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