Howard Theatre

1621 W. Howard Street,
Chicago, IL 60626

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Showing 26 - 33 of 33 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 20, 2005 at 9:38 am

It is always a shame to see a theatre demolished. But, it’s a good thing they took this one down. I was worried that the auditorium was going to fall over onto the elevated railway. The roof was torn off in a storm, and the walls had decayed to the point where you could see into the attic from the Howard Street railway station. Plus, people you wouldn’t want to meet (without weapons at least) were hanging around in there.

Broan on July 16, 2005 at 7:29 am

Did anyone notice the gallery link on the page Bryan Posted in february? There are some cool historical views, like one from the 60s and an original rendering showing what it would have looked like with its extensive stud lighting, now all removed, working, as well as its original marquee and domes (the two-dome style seems to have been very popular around 1917). Also shows the lobby, which I think is a shoe store now. Not sure if the decoration is still there. Does anyone know what was originally above the lobby? The original plans indicate empty space.

mistertom on July 15, 2005 at 8:29 pm

Took the train down to the Howard to see the first run of Apocalypse Now! What a memorable place to see that film. (The horror…)

RickB on March 2, 2005 at 9:14 am

Wow. It almost looks too clean. :–)

Broan on January 18, 2005 at 9:44 pm Here is a photo from the el station showing the side of the Howard circa 1997

tomstranich on June 24, 2004 at 10:56 pm

I’m trying not to weep. I had no idea the theatre was gone. I watched so many movies there as a child in the middle 60’s and 70’s. I can still remember the smell, even if it had passed it’s prime. It was such a huge part of my childhood. There was a malt shop just east of it. I used to see all the teenagers there when I was 6 or 7 years old and think how cool they were. I haven’t been back there in over 20 yrs.since I moved. How sad.

Tom Stranich

PhilH on June 12, 2004 at 7:33 pm

The theatres of my youth in Chicago are all gone! What a shame.
Phil H.

RickB on May 7, 2004 at 7:53 am

The Howard closed during or before 1976; some print reports in later years said that the city had shut it down over health code violations. By then the vertical sign and ornate marquee had been removed, replaced by a plain oblong marquee in shades of brown, very similar to the dark blue one in use on the Lake Shore at Broadway and Belmont at the time.

The new marquee was removed around 1978 or ‘79, after a plan was announced to convert the building into a mixed-use development called “The Howard,” probably inspired by the then-successful “The Main” in Evanston. The theater would have been restored under this plan, most likely as a music or stage venue. Apparently the financing did not work out and the project never got underway.