Belpark Theatre

3231 N. Cicero Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

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Showing 26 - 50 of 51 comments

GFeret on July 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

i’d say they got it backwards

the film society at the portage should’ve renovated the belpark when they started—not the portage. if they had they’d have a bigger more grande old chicago movie palace, plus plenty nearby parking to boot because of the empty used-car lots right around the belpark that’ve been unused for a few years now. parking’s what they sorely lack there at the portage

with that the church would be just fine at the portage and welcomed to it

Broan on June 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm

mike, I have many of the opening ads for Chicago theatres saved on my hard drive, if you don’t already have them filed I could send them to you and save some duplication of effort.

rivest266 on June 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Grand opening ad posed here.

Broan on May 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

the stage is still there but some floors have been inserted, most of it is the kitchen. the booth is still up there empty.

BobbyS on May 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I wonder if the stage was removed or covered up with drapes. Wonder if it is still there. I assume the seating was removed when it was a banquet hall. But I bet the kino booth is still buried up there..

Broan on March 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

Maybe it was Belmont Park, then, but the theater itself was north of the Belmont Park border (Belmont, Laramie, Diversey, and the Northwestern Tracks). What I meant was that Belmont Park is not an official Neighborhood or Community Area name, but a subdivision within a neighborhood.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

Broan, My parents and grandparents lived on the Northside, but I was raised on the Southside (still a CUBS Fan). Seems to me they talked about Belmont Park, but I must have got it all mixed up with Belmont Central, Gardens & Cragin along with the Parks of Portage, Hombolt and Albany. Can’t ask them now, they are all at that great movie palace in in the sky.

The old Chief’s not so great at math either, 30 years for the Bepark is even worse!

Chief Jensen

Broan on March 24, 2012 at 6:15 am

Theatre Historical Society of America.

rascalcrossing on March 24, 2012 at 6:13 am

Hello Broan . . Who is THS (with photos)? A website? Jim Mooney

Broan on March 24, 2012 at 6:03 am

Named for being on the border of BELmont-Cragin and Portage PARK. There is no such thing as Belmont Park.

1927-1957 was 30 years.

THS has a few old photos.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Named for being in BELmont PARK.

Opened 5:00pm, Saturday March 12, 1927.

Closed 1957, only 40 years!

Started out with movies, but also had Vaudeville on Saturday and Sunday.

A Barton Theater Pipe Organ 3/17 (Manual/Rank Keyboards/Sets of Pipes)was installed in 1927. Dan Barton’s Barton Organ Company of Oshkosh Wisconsin started building theater pipe organs in 1918 and was the fifth largest builder of theater pipe organs.

There is no record of what happened to the organ, any of it left in the building, anyone know?

Have any old photos of the theater or more info?

Manteno, Illinois
MP 47 on the IC/CN RR Mainline of Mid-America

rascalcrossing on March 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

I just added a photo of my Dad at work between the projectors. Check the photos > > Jim Mooney

rascalcrossing on March 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I’m thrilled to find this website. My Dad (Edward F. Mooney) was one of the original projectionists from the Belpark’s opening until the early 50’s. I’m now 76 and vividly remember Dad taking me up to the “booth” as a child (early 40’s); and watching the movie through the observation window; and enjoying the air-conditioning blowing through the window. I remember my Mom having to go through the men’s room and the usher’s dressing room to get to the booth ! Naturally, I would dearly love to return to Chicago, just to see if I could get back up to the “booth”. Jim Mooney O'Fallon, MO

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Nice photos Yves. Thank you for sharing.

I’ve always wondered what this place looked like.

Yves Marchand
Yves Marchand on July 7, 2009 at 6:17 am

The auditorium kept some elements of decoration near the proscenium but the original decoration is still intact behind the drop ceiling.
Here are three pictures taken recently :
View link
View link
View link

kencmcintyre on November 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Listed as the Bel-Park in the 1953 Chicago phone directory. Phone number was PEnsacola 6-7379.

rso1000 on September 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm

To clarify the last post and why many people still think the Theatre was the store.

You are Correct — The Steinberg & Baum store was located one block north – on the same site of the Post Office.

The Bel Park was used as Steinbergs warehouse.

After Steinberg closed – The theatre was cleaned up and opened as The Golden Tiara Banquet Hall. I assume it failed to attract banquet business due to parking limitations ( no private parking lot). Thus – since the 80’s – its been exclusively a Bingo Hall.

GFeret on April 4, 2008 at 8:19 am

The BELPARK would be a stone’s throw from the LUNA theatre, that is when the latter was there. The old BP bldg still seems to enjoy a lot of Bingo type vitality w/ the local seniors. Next door (north)to it used to be a popular bowling alley, but that unfortunately was torn down some years ago to make way for an auto dealership (this is Cicero Ave after all), which has now vacated (that part I don’t regret).

But an earlier BELPARK post mentions the old Stienberg & Baum Dept. Store once occupying the BP bldg, which I don’t believe’s correct. The S&B store address was 3319 N. Cicero—now (and for some years) the site of the Irving Pk branch U.S. Post Office. All about ½ blk north of the BELPARK on the same side of Cicero. Recently the I.P. P.O. spruced-up their Cicero-side facade, and in doing so removed and replaced a covering over the old Steinberg & Baum store sign.

P.S.: it is true the S&B store bldg was torn down & rebuilt in the early ‘60s, but not at the BELPARK theatre site.

jpitt on April 2, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I worked at the BelPark as an usher in the late forties. The pay was .45/hr. Being the head usher, I got to wear a tuxedo. Double features and daily matinees were constantly featured. My friends and I on occasion would play Phanthom of Opera back stage making use of the cat walks and spiral stair cases left over from Vaudville days.
I made a habit of saving the stills when the billing changed. Regretably, I lost them them all in a basment flood back in the sixties. At he time my wife and I were living at 15 S. Prospect in Park Ridge. This is right next door to the Pickwick.
I will always have fond memories of the BelPark; however, now our theatre of choice is the Pickwick. We do make an occasional run down to the Logan in Chicago for a special.
John Pitt
Park Ridge, IL

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 30, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Here’s the website for the bingo hall:

CatherineDiMartino on April 10, 2007 at 9:59 am

Richard G.may well be correct November 25, 2003 post. There was indeed a store called Steinberg-Baum. I vaguely remember that when I was a little girl, my Dad would buy something called “Sand Soap” there!

I even more vaguely remember that S-B had another location in Niles or Morton Grove or something, but I could be wrong.

Broan on March 29, 2006 at 6:35 pm

It was remodeled by Roy B. Blass in the 1940s

rso1000 on January 9, 2006 at 12:15 pm

The facility is currently a bingo hall only. When I first saw it in the early 80’s.. the auditorium was wide open and HUGE. The last time I was in there was several years ago… and they had installed a low 10 – 12 foot ceiling.

Broan on December 6, 2005 at 12:53 pm

I found a tribune article announcing a theater at this location designed by Rapp and Rapp, with a rendering that looks similar to the theater but different in a few ways. Chicago Tribune, September 20, 1925 A15

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 25, 2005 at 11:27 am

Have the banquet hall people shown respect for the building’s interior?