Elm Theater

7532 W. Grand Avenue,
Elmwood Park, IL 60707

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ELM Theatre; Elmwood Park, Illinois.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The 1937 Elm Theater was located on Grand Avenue near 75th Avenue in the near western suburb of Elmwood Park. The auditorium ran parallel to W. Grand Avenue, from which it was set back and fronted by small shops. The entrance was to the right of the shops. The theater could seat 700 and operated until its closing in early-June, 1960.

The theatre became a bargain mart, selling second-hand furniture, antiques and appliances. In 1965 the front of the building and foyer area was demolished, and the auditorium has since served as a liquor store, and, since the mid-1980s, a hardware store, which closed in 2007. It was demolished in February 2015.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

dsadowski on July 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

The street view should probably be more like 7532 W. Grand Ave., where you can see what’s left of the theater building. Meanwhile, the last display ad I could find for the Elm in the Chicago Tribune was dated May 22, 1960, and they were showing a double feature of “Seminole” and “Sioux Uprising,” so this may be when it closed. Locally, it was always a weak sister compared to the nearby Montclare and Mercury theaters.

dsadowski on July 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

I found a picture online showing the marquee as the theater looked in August, 1964 as the Elm Bargain Mart. Elmwood Park was celebrating its 50th anniversary that summer. The photo gives the street address as 7540 West Grand: http://cdm15232.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=%2Fp15232cdi&CISOPTR=183&DMSCALE=56.23243&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMMODE=viewer&DMFULL=0&DMOLDSCALE=9.86842&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&DMTHUMB=1&REC=1&DMROTATE=0&x=35&y=32

dsadowski on August 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Another photo from the same archive, this one is dated July 4, 1960. Not sure if the theater was still open then, but the marquee gives a double bill of Here Come the Jets (1959) and Visit To a Small Planet (1960), the latter being a Jerry Lewis movie with story by Gore Vidal. I checked that day’s Tribune, and nobody else was showing these pictures in town: http://cdm15232.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15232cdi&CISOPTR=403&CISOBOX=1&REC=9

dsadowski on August 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

FYI I found a Chicago Tribune display ad for the Elm dated June 5, 1960 showing a double bill of Here Come the Jets and Visit To a Small Planet. Since the marquee still had those films listed on July 4, I conclude the theater was already closed then. By July 4 there were no other theaters in the Chicago area still showing those two films. So it is probably safe to conclude the Elm closed about June 5, 1960.

RiisPark on February 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I had no idea that the old True Value is the site of this theatre. I thought the it was where Caputo’s is today.

dsadowski on February 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

No, Caputo’s is at the NW corner of Grand and Harlem, where Ablin’s drug store was, plus many other shops. the Elm was a few blocks west of there near the Elmwood Park village circle.

rso1000 on February 4, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Seen Today… The Auditorium is fenced in … Machinery on site.. about to begin Demolition in a few day or sooner.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on February 8, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Just posted several photos of the Elm Theater auditorium demolition from Saturday, February 7. rso1000 has also posted some new photos from the last few days.

GFeret on February 10, 2015 at 6:43 pm

I have to say I never realized while I shopped at the True Value store that the building I was in was—at least in large part—the old Elm Theatre, re-purposed. It certainly didn’t look so from the front (Grand Ave) side, and I remember the Elm Theatre facade & marquee from the early ‘60s. But I see from the new demolition photos the full background.

rso1000 on February 13, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Added a few more photos of the murals on the auditorium walls taken 2/12/15. The remainder of the auditorium will probably leveled on 2/13/15.

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