Ramova Theater

3518 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago, IL 60609

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Showing 26 - 50 of 64 comments

Adoresixtyfour on May 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

The Ramova still stand—I took pictures of it yesterday.

DavidZornig on April 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Is the Ramova still standing?
Last I drove by it had a “Property of City Of Chicago” metal sign attached to the front. I think the buildings on either side may have also been gone.

Bing00 on June 12, 2007 at 5:49 am

What ever happened to the plans with Griffin Theatre Company and the other proposal to turn it into an arts center/live-film theatre?

CHICTH74 on January 4, 2007 at 2:39 am

I just hope that the Ramova can be saved and turned it to somethng that shows off the glory that is the Ramova after all it IS the sister to the music box. I guss what i am getting at is i hope that it does not fall the way of the Colonly whare it just siting their all borded up wating or the way of the Brightion Park demolished and all that is on this spot is an empty lot,or if you prefer the Uptown, Granda or a whole lot of wonderful theatres that just becuse it is not in the “Theatre Dist.” it must not be worth looking at.
The Romova as well as a lot of “Local” theatres can and should be saved and used in an artistic mannor. Thank You for your time :)

Broan on November 25, 2006 at 5:50 am

Apologies; here is the corrected link.

Here is a new article on the Ramova, with pictures.

Broan on November 24, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Here is a new article on the Ramova, with pictures.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 17, 2006 at 12:31 am

I drove south down Halsted from the Loop last night. It was the first time in years I have had reason to visit this neighborhood. Boy, has it ever improved! The Ramova’s auditorium needs some stabilization work. It is starting to take on a state of decay similar to that of the Howard in it’s last years.

Jurate on June 28, 2006 at 1:40 am

Thank, you Brian, for the explanation of how the Ramova got its name. Ramuva is the name of an ancient Prussian pagan temple. In the 1920’s, Romuva (or Ramuva) was formally recognized as the ancient Lithuanian Baltic faith by the Lithuanian government.

Unfortunately, the current Lithuanian government does not recognize Romuva as a “traditional” religion and as such is not afforded the benefits that Catholicism, Judaism, and even Karaites enjoy. The Ramova “movement” was re-energized in the 1960’s by Jonas Trinkunas (now Krivis or high priest), but was disbanded by the Soviets, and Trinkunas sent into professional exile. Romuva was re-started about 1988. It is now an active, thriving community in Lithuania, and has “chapters” here in North America as well.

You can find out more by visiting:
The WCER website
Romuva USA website (under construction as of this date)
Romuva Lithuania website (more comprehensive)

Thank you to all of the wonderful people who are striving to preserve this and all historic landmarks. I lost a battle of my own recently in my mother’s Lithuanian hometown in PA.


Broan on June 17, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Here is a profile from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s HAARGIS system. It includes a small picture.

Broan on April 30, 2006 at 12:46 am

A word on how the ramova got its name: During the building’s construction, a contest was held through a local Lithuanian newspaper to name it. The Reverend Anicetus M. Linkus named it, explaining it was a Lithuanian word that meant peaceful place. More accurately, it described a sanctuary for religious rites where the eternal flame was kept in the days of flame-worship. It was a common lihuanian name for social centers.

Maureen60609 on March 3, 2006 at 3:14 am

Public meeting for the Save The Ramova group

Date: March 22, 2006
Where: Benton House
3052 S. Gratten Ave., Chicago
(just west of Morgan, just north of 31st st)
Time: 6:30PM-8PM
Email: with questions

Please join us!

Maureen60609 on November 11, 2005 at 2:36 am

Hi Everyone:

There is an open forum of the Save The Ramova group being held this Tuesday, 11/15/05, at 2PM at the Healthy Foods Restaurant on S. Halsted St. between 32nd and 33rd Streets (appx. 3 blocks north of the Ramova theater).
We will be discussing our current plans and your/our ideas regarding saving our old girl.
Please join us!
See you there,

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 12, 2005 at 1:29 am

Yeah: I think people get into this kind of thing by nature. But I also believe that human beings have the ability to evolve.

I challenge the City of Chicago managers on the project to evolve, and handle this situation with some dignity.

That photo of the lobby from the Sun Times confirms that this building is not in the worst of shape…dramatic as it may appear to some to see the warped door frames and plaster dust heap on the floor. Perhaps that was a tactical error on the part of the City. The way they are acting why else would they release the picture, if not to convince us that the building is beyond repair!

JimRankin on October 9, 2005 at 12:26 pm

“Secret development plans” are very common. Most politicians cannot pay for their own election campaigns, and why should they when they can get some idiots to pay for it? To get this money, the pols promise jobs or contracts or land to contributors (its called the “Spoils System” with the ‘spoils’ being the property given to the contributor), whether legal or otherwise. Very likely at some point, the local politicians promised someone the land under the theatre, or a juicy demolition contract. So went many theatres small or large, such as the famous San Francisco FOX. All theatres (and other structures) are in jeopardy with the ever-corrupt politicians around. Clutch onto your local theatre while you can, for sooner or later some campaign contributor will sidle up to a politico and ask for the ‘favor’ of a particular theatre property to be given to them, without them having to pay for it. They ‘buy’ the property for simple patronage, and so go our theatres. Even the former Loew’s RICHMOND, in Richmond Virginia, (now the Virginia Center for the Performing Arts), an example of a declared landmark that was fully restored in the early ‘80s, is now about to be demolished to satisfy some 'Money-bags’ who wants the land. With the recent Supreme Court decision saying the any government can misuse the Emminent Domain law to take private property for any use, public and/or PRIVATE, the remaing theatres had best quake in fear, for there is the Yaup and Howl of money to be made and all the public-trough feeders are creating a stampede for those properties without strong political backing to protect them. So goes democracy and the ‘rights’ it protects, and the theatres it does not.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 5, 2005 at 11:31 pm

They let those Sun-Times people in to take photographs. Doesn’t make sense that safety concerns should keep the preservation group out. That is double-talk if I have ever heard it. I’m guessing the preservation reps would be happy to sign waivers to enter the building, if given the chance. Secret development plans are also pretty weird.

That damage to the lobby isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Rooms in far worse shape have been repaired. Keep up the fight! The City does not appear to be handling this situation with any respectable level of honor.

Menutia on October 5, 2005 at 10:48 am

Latest update from Chicago Sun-Times

View link

Print story has some photos – Pages 53&55.


vvindyskyz on October 4, 2005 at 12:12 pm

A potential operator of a bowling alley and restaurant is considering the former Ramova Theater at 3518 S. Halsted St. as well as a vacant lot next door, according to the city’s Department of planning and development.
View link

warmowski on September 8, 2005 at 10:00 pm

Hey everybody!

The Chicago Journal newspaper just ran a big front-page story on the Save The Ramova campaign. It’s called “Star of the South Side.”

To read it (and to see the pictures of the pretty lady protecting the nice theatre from the grumpy people!) go to




Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 25, 2005 at 4:43 pm

Great web site. Couldn’t agree more. Maybe it won’t serve as a theatre again, but the interior should be preserved. There are examples of this sort of conversion all over the United States. No need to gut it out, especially when the building is tied to the emotions of many people.

zellah on August 18, 2005 at 2:34 am

Hi Bob and everyone else:
Yes, Bob, I agree with you. This would really be my dream and actually the dream of the 50+ of my neighbors who have signed my petition since Sunday 8/14/05. The request for proposals for The R have been being accepted for almost 5 years and unfortunately, the theater is still closed. Bob do you know of anyone or does anyone else know of someone who may not know about The R and it’s status, who would be interested in re-developing it as a theater? Please talk with them, or send me their information and I will follow-up with them…. I live 4 blocks from The R and would LOVE to have The Music Box, which I have been attending since it re-opened in 1983, in my backyard! Thanks for your support. Cheers, Maureen-
P.S. Take a trip to B-port to see that some of the original good old flavor is thankfully still here :–).

BobMcHugh on August 18, 2005 at 12:20 am

Hi Everyone,
I grew up in the Ramova Theater. I really hope consideration is given to the restoration of the Ramova Theater as a movie theater and keep it is it was. Bridgeport is becoming very upscale and I think could support a movie theater i.e. the Ramova’s sister theater, Music Box.
Does anyone agree with me.

Bob McHugh

zellah on August 17, 2005 at 2:42 pm

Hi Everyone:
I have just started a group called Save The Ramova! www.savetheramova.com We are soliciting signatures (2-300 would be best) to take to Alderman Balcer, Alderman of the 11th Ward, to let him know that the neighbors of The Ramova care about the future of this great old theater. We are basically proposing that whatever the plan is for renovation/re-use, that the interior and exterior should be kept as close to the original design as possible. If any of you would like to sign the petition, please go to, www.savetheramova.com and sign it on-line. If anyone would like to help us collect signatures/volunteer, please e-mail me at

Thanks for listening!
Maureen aka Zellah