Alex Theater

3828 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Alex Theater - Madison & Hamlin (Chicago's West Side)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theater was originally known as the Hamlin Theater and was located close to Garfield Park on W. Madison Street at S. Hamlin Boulevard in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. It opened in 1910 as a vaudeville house with 1,200 seats. It later turned to movies as the primary entertainment. It was closed in 1934.

In 1938, the theater was remodeled in an Art Moderne style and also received a new name, the Alex Theater when it reopened on May 22, 1938 with Claire Trevor in “Walking Down Broadway”. It continued to operate until closure in 1976.

A parking lot is on the site of the former Alex Theater.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 68 comments)

JAYJay
JAYJay on November 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Bug House square was just across from the Newberry Library. A big time gay hangout back in the mid to late 50s Also some hung at the Alex back then also, for sure!

JAYJay
JAYJay on November 23, 2016 at 11:45 am

The Alex was just a short distance from the Mid West Hotel on the n-w corner of Madison and Hamlin av. The Hotel was said to be the tallest Bldg. west of the loop for many years.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on November 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

The building still stands. Now known as the Midwest Apartments, offering subsidized low to moderate income rental units. When I worked in the neighborhood in the ‘50s, the Midwest was an SRO hotel with long-term guests. These included a number of professional ladies who would meet their clients upstairs for services.

BobbyS
BobbyS on November 23, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I assume they were lawyers or doctors right?

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on November 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Their clients may have been. These ladies were engaged in what is referred to as: “The world’s oldest profession.”

JAYJay
JAYJay on November 24, 2016 at 10:50 am

I can remember a gym on one of the upper floors where Pro Boxers trained ? When a young kid a friend and I went up to see it.

JAYJay
JAYJay on November 24, 2016 at 10:59 am

Anyone rem. the Crawford theater at about 100 s. Pulaski… orig. called Crawford av. back then. It later changed names to the National theater and showed Spanish movies. It was located just s. of Goldblatts

BobbyS
BobbyS on November 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Went there many times. Hard to understand the beautiful Marbro being closed and the Alex and Crawford stayed open for awhile.There were hold-ups outside the Marbro as well as inside and we were told to keep our eyes open around us. I can only imagine what went on inside the Alex & Crawford!

JAYJay
JAYJay on November 25, 2016 at 6:20 am

It wasn’t only TV that killed movie theaters…. It was the clientele ! The Gangs and Thugs that moved into what were once decent neighborhoods was a huge factor.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

The Hamlin re-opened as the modernized Alex on the night of May 22nd, 1938. An ad has been uploaded to the photos section.

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