Wheaton Grand Theater

123 N. Hale Street,
Wheaton, IL 60187

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Showing 351 - 369 of 369 comments

rroberts on March 7, 2005 at 4:46 pm

Correction, John. We were not hired. Our company was retained. We work for ourselves in several theatres and wear many hats. Our contracts range from programming to restoration, from management to operations. We also do parking, commercial leases, historic tax credit work, fundraising and real estate development. The Wheaton is but one star in the firmament of great theatres!

JLoster on March 6, 2005 at 4:00 pm


Yes, Paul and his company Grande Venues Incorporated were hired by the Executive Board of the Grand Theater Corporation (of which I’m a Board Member) to run Programming at the theater. They’ve been there for about 4 months now.

Patsy on March 6, 2005 at 9:24 am

Jloster: Do you know Paul Warshauer who is the general manager at the Wheaton Grand? Recently I had a lovely theatre phone chat with him. He is a very dedicated, focused and sincere theatre buff. And I must say that I was thrilled with your final sentence…“It will be a single auditorium upon completion of the restoration.”

JLoster on March 6, 2005 at 9:15 am

I don’t have the exact year(s), but the theater was divided into 2 auditoriums in the early 80’s, and then split into 4 in the late 80’s. In 2003, a group of volunteers removed part of the center wall, so that the two auditoriums nearest the stage were turned into a single auditorium. The theater is presently in a 3 auditorium configuration. It will be a single auditorium upon completion of the restoration.

Patsy on March 6, 2005 at 8:57 am

When was the Wheaton Grand made into a 4 screen/multiplex as I assume it was a single screen theatre?

JamesGrebe on March 6, 2005 at 8:35 am

The opus number of the Kimball theatre organ installed in the Grand Theatre in 1923 was/is 6794.

Patsy on March 5, 2005 at 10:49 am

I hadn’t looked at this site, but checked it out after speaking with Paul Warshauer, General Manager. Thanks Paul for your time and I hope my Carolina Theatre contact emails you in the near future.

JamesGrebe on February 15, 2005 at 5:44 am

I,during the 1980’s owned the organ that originally was installed in the Grand. It was a Kimball 2m/8 r organ installed in 1 chamber. The opus date of the organ was 1921 so I do not know why the theatre listed 1923 as opening. Dr. Kuntz was the first organist but since he was a professor at Wheaton College he had to quit as a theatre organist was not quite uppity enough. After the organ was removed in the talkie era it served the First Pres Ch of Kankakee, IL and at that time a harp was added to the percussions. In the 70’s they removed the Kimball with a new Keates pipe organ and I bought the organ form a warehouse floor in Kanakee, IL for $3,000.00. I had the organ installed in 2 of my homes and then sold it as I was moving into a much smaller home. The trumpet for the Kimball is now in my friend, Bern Nordmann’s 3m/13r organ in his home in Kirkwood, MO. The rest of it is in northern MO and was never reassembled after the fellow bout it from me for $2500.00. When I visited the Grand in the later time I had a picture of the marqwue and the movie, “Silent Movie” was playing. In the theatre the Kimball was on the left side of the stage area and on a little platform.

rroberts on January 19, 2005 at 8:25 pm

Thank you all. I love this site and to the saints of this idea, thank you Mr. Melnick and Mr. Krefft. They make this work and theatres worth preserving. I love great theatres and have made it my mission to help with restoration and programming. It’s a wonderful life!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 18, 2005 at 4:03 pm

I appreciate the job you do.

Regarding Evanston’s Varsity, I have two concerns:

1) I think you need to be careful with words like, “gutted”. I have been around architecture my whole life, and every time that word has been used, it was to refer to a building that had been stripped to the four exterior walls. Current information on the Varsity suggests that 75-90% of the interior exists.

2) I suspect that, because you do have so much to look after, you sometimes post facts that have not been properly confirmed. I know the place never had one retail tenant, although a pharmacy may now move into one of the stalls. I don’t think there were 2600 seats in the Varsity either, although it was big. But I fully admit my uncertainty there. Those THS guys could confirm this number, I suppose.

And that’s really the point. If a statement cannot be properly confirmed (and there is only one way to do that), a disclaimer should be attached. This site comes up in search engine results all the time, and is often the only available internet reference. I think it is reasonable to assume that members of the media, and potential developers find their way in here on a pretty regular basis. That being the case, I think you have a responsibility to report your facts in the proper manner. Misinformation has the capacity to act as an enemy of historic preservation.

Regarding corrections, Paul appears to have sent you a formal request in November, and posted several related messages. I think you could have gotten to it in that span of time…especially when Paul is diligently working out there to make his building a living part of the community. It’s not like someone asked you to correct the demolition year of some nickelodeon.

Now that I have given you a hard time, I will say: keep up the good work! You have created a valuable forum.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on January 18, 2005 at 11:35 am

Paul et al.,

Thanks for your comments about the Cinema Treasures website.

Here’s the basic reality of this site: there are now over 8,300 theaters as of January 18, 2005. Mistakes do happen, unfortunately, as we have submissions from hundreds, if not thousands, of contributors, but we do our very best to update these listings and/or correct any errors.

Each new theater added means a new theater’s description to maintain. As you can imagine, we get a lot of information in the comment sections and via email all day, every day. Those increased theaters add exponentially to the workload of updating everything, unfortunately.

Thanks to Bryan Krefft, our truly dedicated theater editor, we update these listings as best we can. Bryan does an amazing job as a volunteer.

Remember that the website is now over 4 years old so some descriptions are also anywhere from 1 – 4 years old. Sometimes, they have not been updated since their original submission if no updates were submitted or no news was sent in.

We do not wish to “hurt the cause” of preservation, nor do I think we are. Instead, we are trying to give managers, patrons, owners, and enthusiasts a forum to discuss the classic movie theaters of the past and present.

We will continue to work harder to make sure that the site is as accurate as possible and we ask for your patience and understanding. It is worth noting that this is a not-for-profit website supported entirely by volunteers.

Thank you for your comments and please do not hesitate to email me at if you would like to discuss this further or speak with me about any other issues.

It is always a pleasure to hear from our users/contributors and we hope to make the site even better in the years to come.


Ross Melnick
Cinema Treasures, Co-Founder

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 18, 2005 at 9:12 am

I think Paul is right. It seems the people running this web site are prone to slapping together a story, in the name of having something posted (Varsity Theater, Evanston, IL for instance). I think the effort to create this forum is great, and the designers deserve recognition. But, to post unverified facts and refuse to change them upon request of those involved with legitimate reuse efforts makes the preservation community look disorganized, and ultimately hurts the cause.

rroberts on January 16, 2005 at 10:31 pm

Although I love this site, sometimes people (Ross and Dave who did the original write up on this site) are asleep at the wheel. The architect has been identified several times and has been verified as Norman Brydges. Why is it not at the top of this page? The theatre did NOT open in 1923 but was started in 1923 and opened in 1925, (more corrections, boys). The Wheaton Grand celebrates 80 years this May and there will be a giant celebration. Check out the website: www.wheatongrand.net And most importantly, NO decision has been made to “close the theatre for 18 months!” As the owner of the company now managing the theatre, Grande Venues, Inc., that will not happen on my watch!

rroberts on December 5, 2004 at 4:40 pm

It is being restored, as we speak. Check the website: www.wheatongrand.net Lots of activities, movies, magic, murder mysteries, concerts, kids theatre, classical music. The material at the top of this page is incorrect and we did send a request to change it. The theatre will NOT close for 18 months and no official decision has been made to make it one big theatre. Stay tuned for more developments. We do book local bands and have teenagers and volunteers helping in all phases of operation.

Concertfan182 on December 5, 2004 at 3:18 pm

I am in a band and we have performed at the Wheaton Grand a few times, both in one of the 120 smaller theater, and the 750 capacity (seats have been taken out except in the very back) bigger theater. It is apperent the theaters were split up because when you’re in the original room and you look at the ceiling, you can see the huge dome but you can only see half of it. Since I’m only 19 and have never seen the theater only as one screen, I can only imagine it once looked very nice. I live in WHeaton, only a minute from the theater, and hope that it can be restored soon.

rroberts on November 5, 2004 at 4:39 am

This is a fantastic theatre in a fantastic small town. The Wheaton Grand is one theatre that sits in a cool suburban downtown. Theatres like this can be used to help slowly emerging revitalized downtown areas. Why is it that only we, the fans on Cinema Treasures, can see this? I do not agree with the short write up above that, “the theatre must be closed for 18 months” to complete a restoration. This appears to be a common misconception about restoration. Every project is unique, however, it appears to me that the Wheaton needs to operate successfully for a year FIRST to garner public support THEN begin its restoration in phases. The Wheaton is unique in that it has three usable spaces now. Granted that the bathrooms need work and some major clean up is in order but at least this gem is open to the public now! More importantly, the local kids have been presenting concerts there for a while now. That is a great sign! Good luck, Wheaton! You are on to something good.

JohnLoster on December 26, 2002 at 2:55 pm

Website is www.wheatongrand.org

JohnLoster on December 26, 2002 at 1:36 pm

From a volunteer: Status of theater is now open. Showing classic/family films on one screen (second screen expected to open in Spring 2003), as well as live music and other events. Architect was Norman Brydges of Chicago (a Frank Lloyd Wright student)