Belpark Theater: a Chicago Movie Palace Revealed

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Belpark Theatre

The Belpark Theatre, located on Cicero in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, was designed by Roy B. Blass and Edward P. Steinberg. It opened in 1927 as part of the Lubliner & Trinz circuit. In 1930, the Belpark Theatre was taken over by Balaban & Katz, which operated it for the remainder of its career as a movie house. The venue closed as a movie theater in the mid-1950s.

Like many former movie palaces that exist in the present day, adaptive reuse has been critical to its survival.

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Andersonville’s Calo Theater

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Located at 3415 North Clark Street, and opened in 1915.

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Opened in 1915 for the Ascher Brothers circuit, the Calo, which originally sat 880, is located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on Clark Street near Balmoral Avenue.

In the early 90s, the historic Calo, with its elaborate white terra-cotta facade, became the home of the Griffin Theatre Company, which put almost $100,000 into renovating and restoring the former movie house into a legitimate theater, the seating decreased to just 135 in its main auditorium.

Avondale’s Forgotten Nickelodeon: The Enterprise

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The Enterprise in Avondale

In a small taqueria at 2829 N. Milwaukee is a vestige of the cinematic era prior to the grand movie palaces of the 1920s. A small inscription of “The Enterprise” on the limestone facade is a clue to this overlooked landmark.

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Athenaeum Theatre

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Athenaeum 2

Athenaeum Theatre, located on Southport Avenue in Lake View, opened in 1911 as part of the campus of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. Conceived as a neighborhood playhouse by the original German-American parish, the historic building is the oldest continuously operating off-Loop theater in Chicago.

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