Byrd Theatre

4740 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60644

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Lubliner & Trinz opened the Madison Square Theatre in 1917 on Madison Street between Cicero Avenue and Kilpatrick Avenue, near where the neighborhoods of West Garfield Park and Austin meet. The Madison Square Theatre had no balcony or stage, but the building’s 5,000 square foot space, however, did contain a ballroom, which was located above the lobby. It also had a Style E Wurlitzer.

The theatre briefly closed during the 1920’s and reopened in 1930 as the Byrd Theatre, which operated until closure in 1969. The building was later used as a church, but has since been demolished. The site of the block that the Byrd Theatre was on, is today a large vacant lot.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

GFeret
GFeret on February 21, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Well then, if the BYRD didn’t change name to RENO, where exactly was THE RENO??? I was sure this was it, and I WAS there, or very near closeby. Somebody please tell me I’m not imagining….THE RENO.

KenC
KenC on February 21, 2007 at 10:32 pm

There was a theatre on Roosevelt Rd. called the RENA. It was open at least through March 1964. Perhaps that’s what you’re thinking of, G. Feret. From the Sun Times movie directory dated Sat. March 28, 1964: RENA 4015 W. Roosevelt- Open 1:00 “MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES” Vincent Price “COMEDY OF TERRORS” & “SUMMER HOLIDAY” Cliff Richard.

Bogbac
Bogbac on April 9, 2007 at 7:20 pm

I was an usher at the Byrd in the early 1960’s. In fact I was the only usher. Worked only on weekends. Use to let my friends in the side doors. They use to run movies for weeks on end. I remember the Guns of Navarrone and a really old one called Naughty Marrietta with Janet McDonald and Nelson Eddy. It was a musical

KenC
KenC on January 9, 2008 at 6:43 am

The Byrd was open as late as July 1967. From the Chicago Sun Times on Saturday, July 1, 1967: BYRD OPEN 1:30 – “THE PAD” “VALLEY OF MYSTERY”.

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on January 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm

(July 24, 1947) LICENSE DRIVE HITS 7 LOCAL MOVIE HOUSES
When the city’s drive on license violators hit theaters last week, seven West Side movie houses made quick amends in their admission prices. In view of speedy corrections of the violations, Judge Cecil Smith discharged the cases.
Theaters affected and their maximum prices were: Tiffin, 4045 North, 40 cents; West End, 121 N. Cicero, 40 cents; Byrd, 4730 Madison, 40 cents; Symphony, 4921 Chicago, 40 cents; Crawford, 19 S. Crawford, 40 cents; K and C, 306 S, Cicero, 25 cents; and the Plaisance, 466 N. Parkside, 40 cents.

amoswald
amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I saw The Jolson Story, Jolson Sings Again, Singing in the Rain, and Wizard of Oz at the Byrd. They showed a lot of films that were in rerelease.

BobbyS
BobbyS on February 6, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hi Anita! I remember seeing the horror film “Them” at the Byrd. The theater was full of kids and it was a blast on Saturdays. Usually double bills and drive-in type of movies. I have been afraid of ants ever since! I thought I saw “King Kong” there on a re-re-release or it could have been the State. Went to every movie theater on Madison St. all the time sometimes two in a day via the streetcar lines. I loved all the candy :Milk Duds. Halloway bars and of course the real butter popcorn…..Um-m-m-m-m.

BobbyS
BobbyS on February 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

The Bryd was renamed “PEPE” in the last years. They just put the letters over the BRYD name and showed Spanish films. I was long gone by then, but I do have a picture with the PEPE name. I wish I knew how to post a picture on this page. The Bryd was a fun place to see all your friends and scream together for the horror flicks..

LouRugani
LouRugani on December 29, 2012 at 1:12 am

On November 7, 1917 the MADISON SQUARE Theatre opened, seating 2,000 people and owned by the West End Amusement Company, which also controled the Virginia and Crawford Theaters. The West End Amusement Company was formed by William E. Heaney (vice-president of the Illinois Branch of MPEL of America and manager of the Virginia and Crawford theaters), his father James B. Heaney, J. D. Murphy, and H. A., Paul A. and John Arm- strong. There was a $6,000 Wangerin & Weickhardt pipe organ. Admissions were 10 and 15 cents including the war tax.

jtmiller
jtmiller on May 3, 2013 at 12:30 am

Remember watching many films at the Byrd in the late 1940s to 1961, when our family moved. Saw Disney’s “Peter Pan” there in 1952, when I was 9 years old.

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