Showing 25 comments
Here are some newly discovered although sad photos of the demolition of the Marquette Theater in Aug. 1987.
Can anyone tell me if they remember a restaurant called the Centennial Restaurant near the Woods Theater? I used to eat there as a kid, and for the life of me I can’t find a single reference to it anywhere. I’m pretty sure it was on Dearborn near the Woods, because I remember eating at the Centennial and looking down the street to see a sign for the movie Penitentiary II (with Mr. T) playing there.I can’t recall if this restaurant was near the Woods or the McVicker, but it was near whichever theater played Penitentiary II. Anyone?
Just an FYI – several people have written me asking for a piece of the facade, but never wrote back with their address. If anyone wants a piece, all I’m asking is enough to cover shipping. Not looking to make any profit. I’d just love for other fans who cherished this theater to be able to have a piece of it to remember it by.
Tim, it’s all well and fine to wax nostalgic and hope to save an old favorite, but it’s also unrealistic to expect something good to come of it. I lived there, and I left. I’ve passed through there many times in recent months. It’s the ghetto. Violent crime rates in the area around the Colony Theater are 4 times higher than the Chicago average, and property crimes are also almost 4 times higher. You’d need to hire armed security on a 24/7 basis to keep the gangs under control, and even then shootings would be likely. Mr. Valentine is, of course, free to do whatever he likes with his money. Some of us are simply warning him as to the reality of the risk he’s taking.
Jimmy, it would be a spectacularly unwise investment. The neighborhood has gone to hell. Gang-bangers and low-lifes everywhere. It’s a very depressed neighborhood now, a ghetto. You’d never make money with a theater there. Even if you could, the people who would go there would destroy the place within the first few months. Sad but unfortunately the reality of things.
Those who want a piece of the facade, please email me at junk(at)undermountain(dot)org and replace the (at) with @ and the (dot) with .
Anyone who wants a piece of the facade, just email me at the address listed in my profile and I’ll send it out. All I ask is a couple of bucks to cover shipping, I don’t want to make money off it. Just sharing the love. :–)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to resurrect the Brighton Theater. The Brighton Park neighborhood has become a crime-ridden slum. Most of the people there no longer even speak English. Education levels are far lower than what any of us remember (high illiteracy rate and high school drop out rate). Mexican gang bangers are on every corner and every building is tagged with graffiti. It’s a truly destroyed neighborhood. No wonder the property values have plummeted to badly. So re-opening the Brighton Theater would not be economically feasible. Not any more. Not in Brighton Park.
Thomandlinda and Johnp77, I have some nice pieces of the facade from when they tore it down. If you want, I can send you one as a souvenir. I grabbed a bunch when it was being torn down because I wanted a keepsake and a few friends did also, so I took more in case I ran into other people who might have wanted a keepsake. It was such a wonderful place!
Cool! Check your email, Igg. I sent you some info. If anyone else wants a piece of the facade, just LMK. No charge, just pay exact shipping. I never intended on making a dime off it, I just figured I’d grab a bunch of pieces for when I run into other people who loved that theater as much as I did, so they’d have a source to get a “souvenir” so to speak. Man, I miss that place!
Igg, you don’t seem to have your contact info set so that others can contact you. If you enable it, I can send you a PM so we can get you a piece of the facade. ;–)
Otherwise, send me a PM with your email so I can write you.
CHI74, I do the same. I try to remember all the great places in Brighton Park as I drive through…the Park Restaurant, Community Smokeshop, Gerties, Huck Finn, Brighton Theater, Archer Avenue Big Store, Fannie May, etc.
I remember often stopping at Huck Finn, White Castle, Park Restaurant, or the Golden Heart after or before a show at the Brighton Theater. There was a bowling alley just past Archer on Kedzie by Huck Finn, that later became a Forest Auto store and is now a dollar store. Any idea what the bolwing alley name was?
So true. And there was a truly rotten element there. Lots of gang scum. I remember going there once and people had to be searched. Lots of punks yelling and acting out. I demanded a refund and never went back.
CHI74, I think you’re right. The place that was Gerties is still there. I think it’s now a tiny Mexican restaurant. It is a shame. Brighton Park is getting totally run down and infested with gangs now. Very little is even in English anymore, and almost every building has graffiti on it.
Oh, by the way. The jewelry store was to the left of the Brighton when facing the doors not the right. I noticed in my last post that I had that turned around. Next to the jewlery store was Wolf Furniture, which is now Watra, a Catholic religious store.
Catherine, the Sheridan was located at 79th & Harlem. Harlem Corners was located at 87th & Harlem. So they weren’t in the same strip mall, but they were down the street from one another. I don’t think Harlem Corners existed while the Sheridan was in operation (or even still standing!) though.
CHI74, the gold store was actually right next door to Fannie May. It was in the part of the building next to it, right before the alley. Gerties was off to the right of the Brighton (when facing it). I think it was owned by the same people who owned the Gerties by the Colony. I remember stopping in there after school in the early 70’s to get hot chocolate, which they made with milk, not water. Yum! I remember the jewelry store to the right of the Brighton. Tiny little place! That got torn down along with the theater. :–(
Well, these are sad pics, but nonetheless pics of the site where the glorious Brighton Theater once stood. The first shot is a more wide angle shot:
The big grassy open spot in the center is where the Brighton Theater stood. The triangular shaped building to the north of the lot is now Watra, a Catholic religious store. It used to be Wolf’s Furniture in the 60’s and 70’s. Going southeast of the lot is where Gertie’s Ice Cream used to stand. Fannie May Candies was in the building just north of Watra/Wolf Furniture.
The red building on the left side of the photo is the firehouse where the movie Backdraft was filmed.
Here’s a close-up of the lot where the Brighton stood:
Well, I hope that at least brings back some memories of the area, even if the theater is missing.
I had hoped to get a tour for nostalgic reasons before they tore the Brighton down, but that unfortunately did not pan out. I did manage to go grab a whole bunch of chunks from the facade afer they wrecked it, as souvenirs or mementos. If anyone would like one, I can send it for the cost of shipping alone. I have a handful of sizes (most just a couple of pounds if that). I figured there’d probably be some patrons who loved that theater as much as I did, so I grabbed extra to make sure that I wouldn’t be the only one with a physical piece of the theater to hold for nostalgia. :–)
I have a nice piece with the building date sitting on a bookshelf.
Sadly, I saw some cranes and other equipment when I drove past the area last week. I suspect they’re getting ready to tear it down. And so dies another historic site. :–(
CHI74, I don’t know how to thank you for this! Just seeing the interior shots brings back so many memories! I’m still hoping to come across interior shots from the 70’s, which seems to be like paning for gold. But even these shots are simply fantastic! Thanks!
Brian Wolf is also a saint! Thanks again Brian! :-D
Wow! Brian, those are some fantastic pics! Thanks so much! :–)
I used to frequent all the Chicago area drive-ins in the 70’s and 80’s, and I know I was at the Sheridan a couple of times but I can’t recall what it looked like. Does anyone have any pictures of the place?
I miss the Coral. I think the last time I was there was in ‘82 to see Rocky III. I remember that because me and my friends were always cheering for Mr. T (Clubber Lang) and we got some strange looks from the other patrons! It was a very nice theatre, and unique compared to even the other great Chicago theaters on the south side such as the Brighton, Colony, and Marquette.
I loved the Brighton Theater. I grew up there, watching probably 90% of the movies I’ve seen in my life at that theater. When they demolished it, I grabbed a whole box full of the facade to keep as a memorial of sorts and to share with friends who also wanted a piece.
I’ve had no luck getting pictures of the inside of the theater from the 70’s, and would just about donate a body organ to obtain some. :–)
Does anyone have any ideas of where I might find pictures of the inside? Surely they must exist!