Southtown Theatre

610 W. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60621

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Showing 76 - 100 of 118 comments

CharlesZirino
CharlesZirino on July 13, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Well Folks I hate to tell you this but they eliminated that great gold statue from St. Martins. You always seen it when you rode the L train downtown.
Chuckie Z.

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on March 28, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Famed “Schmeling-Louis” fight film shown at Southtown—–

NEWS ITEM:

Chicago Daily News, Friday, June 26, 1936, p. 36, c. 1—–

FIGHT FILMS OPEN AT B-K THEATERS

The Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight pictures, complete from beginning to end have been booked in as extra screen attractions at eight Balaban & Katz theaters starting today. In the loop the pictures will be shown at the Roosevelt and Apollo theaters; west side Marbro; south side, Tivoli and Southtown; north side, Granada, Varsity and Uptown. The pictures showing the knockdown in slow motion, also start at the Regal theater on the south side on Sunday

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on March 28, 2007 at 1:36 am

From what i have found i think that it is and it pains my to type this…and empty lot.

Which if i am correct makes me recall a quote from Richard Nickle:
“ Great architecture has only two natural enemies : water and stupid men ”

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on February 23, 2007 at 3:32 am

Herbakeet,

I will check out your Mom’s diary. She lived down the street from where I used to live.

FLICKCHICK

herbakeet
herbakeet on February 5, 2007 at 4:51 pm

One more thing: I was wondering if anyone had any recollections or photos of, or information about, a couple of restaurants, circa 1945-46, that were on 63rd Street, between the Southtown and Halsted St. They are:

—Minuet's
—Parnell’s (owned by a Jim)
—China Clipper

http://www.dhdd.net/dorothy/1945/today.html

herbakeet
herbakeet on February 5, 2007 at 4:43 pm

FLICKCHICK,

You mentioned St. Martin’s. I was christened there. Of course, I don’t remember much of that :)

But I do remember the Southtown, and my parents bringing me there to see “The Beginning of the End” in about ‘58.

You might be interested in my mother’s 1945 diary, when she was 16, which I’m reconstructing day-by-day online in 2007, which has the same calendar as 1945. She lived at 61st & Normal: http://www.dhdd.net/dorothy/1945/today.html

CharlesZirino
CharlesZirino on January 5, 2007 at 2:56 pm

To all the old Englewood residents that lived there in its glory years when it was a mecca of entertainment and social standing about all we can do is remember it. Just like most good neighboorhoods in the big cities they have been reduced to slums and gettos of crime and filth except for a few that have been turned into condo cities with no personalities.Gone are the glorious movie houses and churches,parks and gathering places of the good citizens to meet and the children to play safely.Gone are the great movies and stars that entertained us.The ones that if they had faults they didn’t flaunt it.When celebrities were true celebrities and maintained their image in public.Sports figures had time for the kids to sign autographs and talk to them and realize they are the fans that make them. There was no high priced shoes or jerseys or other junk that was sold.I could keep going but I don’t have to because nothing will change. All the people that respond to this sight to remember the good old days know what Im talking about and are blessed to have lived in glorious Englewood a one of a kind place in a different time!
Chuckie Z.

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on December 17, 2006 at 5:06 am

Gerry,
St. Cecelia’s was on 45th and Wells. It’s too bad you never went inside, it was glorious. I remember the other churches you mentioned, except St. George. Where was that located?
I’m glad I finally found someone else who remembers the dairy. I was begining to think I had the wrong location.
The Michigan Theater was on Garfield and Michigan. I remember it having a nice marquee. I only went inside once. My brother took me there to see a werewolf movie that scared the stuffing out of me. I remember the theatre being more on the order of the Englewood or maybe the Empress. It was nice, but there was nothing spectacular about the lobby. There was another theatre on Garfield, further east (near Calumet). I remember the building, but I think it was an old vaudeville house that was shut down decades before it was razed.

Englewood
Englewood on December 12, 2006 at 4:42 pm

Lynn,

Your mention of St. Cecelia’s Church … I’ve heard of it but was never inside. It was located at the corner of 45th and Wells.

Englewood
Englewood on December 12, 2006 at 4:36 pm

Lynn,

I knew many of the Catholic churches in Englewood, e.g., St. Basil’s (where I was baptized), Our Lady of Solace, Visitation, St. Brendan’s, St. John of God, St. Rita, St. Bernard, St. Leo, St. Sabina, and St. George. One of the schools my mother attended was St. Anne’s. I do remember the dairy. It was the Bowman Dairy. We took a field trip there in 1952. I think it was at 66th and Wentworth or maybe 55th and Wentworth. The Michigan Theater doesn’t ring a bell. However, the train station on 63rd Street does. It was a busy little station at one time. Now it’s deserted, abandoned. That’s all I can think of now. More questions—-Please!

Gerry

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 12, 2006 at 2:56 am

If you have memories of Chicago’s Michigan Theatre, it would be great if you shared them here:

/theaters/3107/

I remember seeing the Michigan in it’s last days and would love to hear about what it was like in better days.

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on December 12, 2006 at 2:23 am

GerryC,
Thanks for all of the info on St. Martin’s organ. It was a magnificient one. The people who bought the church changed it a lot, but there are still many of the beautiful stained glass windows left. The last time I went by the church the golden horse was still on top, but I have not been by there lately. I’ll have to go look.

I used to hear my Mom say it’s wonderful to get older, but there are some drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is finding someone to help you remember something you may have forgotten. I don’t know if you are familiar with any other churches that were near our old neighborhood. My older sister took me to mass at a Catholic Church that had a magnificent glass dome. I was very little, not even in school yet. I think it was on 43 or 45th. I also want to think it was called St. Cecelia. I remember that St. Ann’s was on 55th and Wentworth. This church wasn’t very far away. Let me know if you have heard of this church. Do you remember the dairy that was down the street from St. Ann’s? The Michigan Theatre? The train station on 63rd Street?
I’ve got my thinking cap on.

Englewood
Englewood on December 12, 2006 at 1:25 am

Flick,

Thanks for the response. I’m only 11 days late in my own response. Sorry.

I only lived on Normal Blvd. for a short period of time, about eight months, I believe. I lived with my grandfather and aunt at 5950 S. Normal Bl. I’m not sure where it was located in relation to the rest of the boulevard. I know it wasn’t on the corner, wasn’t Victorian, or built of brick. It was a plain, 2-storey, two-flat; we lived on the second floor. It has since been torn down, as has a lot of that block. I still remember “The Patch” on the corner of 59th & Normal, along with a bakery we used to stop at. I can’t remember the name of that bakery.

As for St. Martin’s … I understand it is no longer a Catholic church. It was a beautiful church. The parishioners themselves paid for every part of that church. It was built in 1886 and completed in 1894, by German immigrants. (All the stainglass windows were hand-made in Innsbruck, Austria, and Munich, Germany. All text in the windows was in German.) Last month, my younger sister told me that the gold-leafed statue of St. Martin of Tours has been removed from the tower. (That statue was a landmark that airline pilots used when approaching Midway Airport.) The church’s massive organ was something to hear. But the organ had an interesting history. It was built in 1880 and housed at the Chicago Music Hall located on the southeast corner of State St. and Randolph St. in the Loop. The entire block was purchased for an addition on Marshall Field’s department store in 1901. Mrs. Field donated the organ to St. Martin’s. It was re-built for $8,500 (in 1901!!), of which Andrew Carnegie donated $4,000. It was last played in May 1975 and was later moved to Holy Trinity Church in Comstock Park, Michigan.

That’s all I can think of for now. Let me know of anything you remember of Englewood of the 40s and 50s.

GerryC

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on November 30, 2006 at 6:16 am

GoodlanderGirl and GerryC-
Hello! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. My computer did a swan dive and it took us forever to decide what we wanted and actually purchase a new system. It was great reading your comments.
GoodlanderGirl, I don’t remember the teacher you mentioned by name. I do remember a couple of real old teacher though. My kindergarten teacher was named Miss or Mrs. Cordell, at least that’s what one of my best friends says. I remember the teacher’s face, but not her name. What I remember most about Wieboldt’s is getting my Red Goose shoes and the big goose egg they would give you as a treat. My big sister would take me to Walgreen’s for ice cream sundaes. She would remember all of this better than I, but she passed away some time ago. I really did enjoy our old neighborhood. I went to church at Bethel on Peoria. I remember how we would go to the A&P to get treats between Church and Sunday school.

Gerry, St. Martin’s church is still there. It was purchased a few years back by another church. They refurbished the church, but the school, the buildings behind the school and the convent were all torn down. There is a parking lot where the school once was and just a fenced in lawn where the convent once was. I did manage to get a peak inside the church. It’s beautiful structure could never be changed, but it looks nothing like the German cathedral it was patterned after. Thanks for the name of the restaurant. It seems you lived on the same block as I did at one time. When you lived on Normal, did you live in the brick house one from the corner with the driveway or the Victorian on the corner at 60th? I lived at 5938.
I hope to hear from both of you soon. Lynn

Goodlander
Goodlander on October 28, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Flickchick and Gerry C.
Didn’t I give a big whoop when I got home and saw that I had 2 postings in answer to my Chicago Memories?? I have even been dreaming about the old neighborhood. I have been trying to retrace my steps from my old apartment up to 63rd and Halsted. I am amazed that I remember so much. I moved from there in 1954, which only made me 9 or close to it.
Times were so different then. My own Grandaughter just turned 10, but she has never in her life gone anywhere without supervision…whereas the old Englewood gang thought nothing of being gone all day while your Mother cleaned and you amused yourself.
I was surprised and pleased Flickchick to hear that you went to Lewis Champlin too. What years were you there? Did you have Mrs Vanderpoel for Kindergarten, or Mrs Watson for 1st grade, or Mrs Bishop for 3rd grade? I remember each one of their faces so well. The first two were ancient in 1950, so they would be long gone now, yet their faces and kindness to me still live a half of a century later.
Gerry, I loved reading all your memories,so many of them are my very own!
One of my fondest memories had to do with Lain Funeral Home on 63rd Street. A young woman used to sit in the window on summer eves and once my sister and I stopped to peek into their ornate window and the young woman spoke to us and asked us to go up to Walgreens and get her a thick milkshake. We were glad to go, she was so pretty and nice to us. It got to be a ritual with us running up to see if she needed anything. Finally she told us that she was the hairdresser and when a body came in she would fix the hair. We were so facinated!!! Once she took us in the back and let us see a dead body she had just fixed the hair. I have never forgot the waxy look on the bodys face. (Nowdays, they would have arrested her and charged her with some child abuse law, but she was our hero. We thought she looked like Lana Turner).
My Dad painted all the signs up and down the street and all over Chicago. He would let me go up on the stage with him and coat out signs when I was just a little girl. He showed me such a good life, filling me with the confidence in myself that I carry to this day.
Another special memory is a coloring contest that Weibolts held called “The Cinnamon Bear Coloring Contest”. I was so sure that I would win..I dreamt about my prize..but on the day that the winner was announced, alas! another kid won, and I just knew that it was rigged, as mine was so much more beautiful than hers. As a consolation, my mother took me over to where they sold “Buster Brown ” shoes and let me look at my feet through the X-ray machine, ( which they now say causes cancer)Oh well, my feet survived!
I remember the streetcar fire under the viaduct I think on State Street and 63rd, my Dad called it the Green Hornet train I think..lots of people died. I also went to the Fish Furniture fire and I well remember the awful smell. There was a picture in the SOuthtown Economist of the fire and you could see my Dad silloueted in the light of the fire. I had that picture for years.
I better stop now, but let me say that my spirit is soaring just knowing that you two exist out there and our eyes have seen the same things and our feet have walked places that are exactly the same. We are the Old Englewood Gang!! Write back both of you and write lots!!Best to you both Gale

Englewood
Englewood on October 28, 2006 at 7:33 pm

To: GoodlanderGirl and FLICKCHICK (and everybody else)

Glad to read some stuff about Englewood and the Southtown Theater. I also have postings on this website for the : Englewood, Empress, Stratford, Kim (Ace), and Linden theaters. Had some nice ‘conversations’ with others who lived in Englewood. It’s great to hear everybody’s story.

I grew up in Englewood. Lived there from 1950 to 1958. Lived at:
5950 So. Normal Blvd.
650 W. 60th St.
6347 So. Green St., and finally at
6517 So. Stewart Ave.

Attended St. Martin’s School at 59th & Princeton Ave. and graduated from St. Bernard’s School at 66th & Stewart Ave.

Swam in Ogden Park pool on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and at Sherman Park pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If something happened and they were closed that day, we swam at Gage Park (55th & Western Ave.) or McKinley Park (Archer Ave. & Western Blvd.) In the winter, we’d try to get in as ‘guests’ at the YMCA pool (66th & Union Ave.)

We’d utilize the playgrounds at Beale School and Kershaw School, emphasis on the latter. Depending where we were living, we utilize the Hiram Kelly Library, or later, the Hamilton Park Library.

On Saturdays, we went to either the Empress Theater or the Englewood Theater and to the Southtown Theater on Sunday—and stayed all day.

The area of 63rd & Halsted was like a playground for us, except on Sunday—when nearly everything was CLOSED. Christmastime topped it all, with stores being open each night until 10.

I couldn’t think of a better place to grow up in. We had everything right there. We had our own hospitals (Englewood Hosp. and St. Bernard’s Hosp.); a thriving shopping district at 63rd & Halsted; our own theaters; a major-league baseball team (o.k., not far from Englewood); and our own L line with five stops. We even had our own skid row (on 63rd Street from the railroad tracks at Wallace St. east to about where Parnell St. would’ve been).

The name of the restaurant at 63rd & Normal was the Lauer Sisters Restaurant. Here is a web address with a painted postcard of the restaurant in 1936:

View link

Here is a similar postcard of the southeast corner of 63rd & Halsted (1943), where Andes Candies once stood. To the left of it, you can see the old Linden Theater.

View link

I’d better stop for now. I keep losing text. Would like to hear more of your time in Englewood. Don’t leave out anything.

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on October 27, 2006 at 3:16 am

GoodlanderGirl
I lived on Normal Blvd. up the street from Kelly Library. It’s great to hear someone else talk about the old neighborhood. The city is trying to revitalize Englewood now. They have built over 100 new houses mimicking the old style. Where the shopping district at 63rd and Halsted once was, they are now building a college. I too went to Lewis-Champlin school. As a matter of fact I have been trying to find a picture of it to show to my husband. He grew up in Iowa and knows little about old Chicago neighborhoods like Englewood. When I tell him about walking up to 63rd with my girlfriends to shop at Sears and Wieboldts or about having lunch at Walgreen’s he looks at me in disbelief. Do you remember the name of the restaurant at 63rd and Normal? He loves old movie houses, so when I told him about the Southtown, he felt cheated. I took all of that for granted, but now you have to own a million dollar house in Lincoln Park to even come close to it!

Goodlander
Goodlander on October 19, 2006 at 2:25 pm

I was born and lived at 243 West Englewood Ave, a building now demolished to make room for the Expressway. My Father owned Goodland Sign Company and did most of the signs along the 63rd St corridor.
Our favorite treat was to go to the Southtown and enjoy all her beauty. People now days think I am exaggerating when I describe the Swan Pool, the Golden Fish and the Ushers brillant uniforms.
My Dad painted the large flying airplane on the side of the China Clipper Building and took out part of the payment in trade, so we would go to the Clipper then up the block to the Southtown. He also painted the signs for the Butter Burger and we took some trade in that one too.
I honestly feel bad for modern people who will never experience the joy of the old neighborhoods, with the movie theaters, shops and restaurants. Where everyone knew the butcher and the barber. Who remembers the windown sign that read “ I’m Tony the Barber, the son of the beach”….??? Walgreen’s thick milkshakes, the 3 Sisters mashed potatoes ? I went to Lewis Champlin School, my parents graduated from Englewood High….Sigh…those WERE THE DAYS!

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on August 25, 2006 at 11:08 pm

THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION JIM. MY PARENTS ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT HOW BEAUTIFUL THAT THEATRE WAS. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT.

JimRankin
JimRankin on August 25, 2006 at 12:34 pm

See my comment of April 28, 2004 above for the source of many very decent photos of the SOUTHTOWN, still available as a Back Issue of their “Marquee” magazine for a mere $5 plus S&H. This is less than the price of one 8x10 print today!

LYNNMICHALI
LYNNMICHALI on August 25, 2006 at 12:12 pm

I went to the Southtown one time only. I was very young and my Mom and Dad couldn’t find a sitter. All I can remember about the inside was how big and beautiful it was and of course the birds. I cannot find a decent picture of the exterior of the theater, let alone the opulent inside.

Broan
Broan on July 13, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Nope. I think I might have a drawing at home though.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 13, 2006 at 1:16 pm

Brian: is there a HAARGIS photo of the Rhodes on 79th Street?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 13, 2006 at 3:27 am

I visited the Southtown as it was being demolished. Found my way through the lobby and into a damp store room at the base of the multi-story tower. It was a hollow structure. So, from this store room you could look all the way up to the top. It was an unexpected, strange, and shocking sight.

From the looks of it, many of the design features were in relatively decent shape right up until the end. There was still cardboard poster art sitting around too.

Too bad. But I suppose the place probably needed costly renovations to function in any capacity after all those years. If I were a property owner with no interest in theatres I suppose I would have made the same decision.