Belpark Theatre

3231 N. Cicero Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Edward F. Mooney, projectionist

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Belpark Theatre opened on March 12, 1927 as part of the Lubliner & Trinz circuit. It was located on Cicero Avenue near Belmont Avenue in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

This 2,000-plus seat theater was designed by E.P. Steinberg and once contained a 3/17 Barton theater organ. In spring of 1930, the Belpark Theatre was taken over by the Balaban & Katz chain, which operated it for the remainder of its career as a movie house.

The Belpark Theatre closed as a movie theater in the mid-1950’s and after periods of use as a warehouse and later, a banquet facility, the building became a bingo hall, which was closed around 2014. It was converted into a church which opened March 15, 2015.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 48 comments)

GFeret
GFeret on July 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

sears parking lot 2-½ block east, not a convenient asset even if sears made it plainly known portage theatre parking was permitted

parking issue aside—it’s not that important to me personally—restoring the belpark yes was a blown theatrical opportunity

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2012 at 4:56 am

I am late to this discussion, and I haven’t read every comment. But here is my two cents: The Belpark has been positively serving the community as a bingo hall for many years. I really don’t know much about bingo. But it seems like people pay something to get in, play bingo and have a chance to win prize money, while at the same time socializing. That sounds like a good thing. I’d rather see this church take residence in a space that is currently vacant. In a city the size of Chicago there must be at least a few to choose from.

GFeret
GFeret on July 30, 2012 at 5:51 am

i’m glad when a religious organization takes over a former theatre, and can live with bingo activity doing similarly, because it means the building’s lease on life has been extended instead of it falling into disuse & vacancy. we’ve had far too many heartbreaking examples of that

what i say above goes double for former theatres which could be characterized as old movie palaces. personally i favor these alternate useages specifically for the distinct possibility at least a percentage can and will revert to film exhibition once again. that’s a goal quite compatible with this cinematreasures site, and why i’d point out a missed opportunity like the BelPark

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 30, 2012 at 6:30 am

I wonder if the lobby chandelier is original to the theater, or if it was added by one of the post-warehouse tenants.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on June 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Drove by today and saw the red & white Public Notice on the door. Then saw a post on the Chicago Theatre Preservation Alliance Facebook page, that included the below link. The BelPark will be the new home of Chicago Tabernacle. The same folks who originally wanted the Portage Theatre. So good news all around, with both now being saved.

http://vimeo.com/76842540

GFeret
GFeret on October 3, 2014 at 4:05 am

the bel park yesterday had practically all traces of ‘golden tiara’ (bingo) removed, including the doorway canopy, and front doors boarded-up. definitely looks like re-construction going on inside (contractor sign was attached)

GFeret
GFeret on March 14, 2015 at 7:15 am

tomorrow mar 15 this place (what was the BelPark theatre) re-opens as www.chicagotabernacle.org

a modest canopy hangs over the front entrance on Cicero ave stating ‘Chicago Tabernacle CT’, in place of what once many years ago was the BelPark theatre marquee.

I don’t exactly know but I’d hazard a good guess the newest renovation here utilizes what the old theatre had to offer inside, much much better than the previous Golden Tiara seniors bingo hall had done

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 23, 2015 at 6:36 pm

I added one photo as Chicago Tabernacle, March 2015. I’ll get another some Sunday when there is no parking directly in front.

Broan
Broan on May 25, 2015 at 5:08 am

It looks like they did a nice job. Before: http://chicagopatterns.com/belpark-theater-a-chicago-movie-palace-revealed/

Construction videos: Video 1: https://vimeo.com/111057220 Video 2: https://vimeo.com/115832228 Video 3: https://vimeo.com/119613402

They seem to have preserved and exposed most of what remained, and walled over the rest. They partitioned off the rear part of the auditorium into classroom-type space. I’m sure they intend to dismantle that and move those functions to storefront spaces as their congregation grows. The one odd thing I noticed in the video was that the lunettes at the top of each archway in the theatre were removed for some reason.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

That’s quite a fundraising drive they pulled together.

I’ve been wondering what would happen to the Belpark. It’s been Golden Tiara for so long, it just seemed like the average run of a Chicago business meant change was coming.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater