Elm Theater

7532 W. Grand Avenue,
Elmwood Park, IL 60707

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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.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

KenRoe
KenRoe on January 2, 2007 at 1:01 pm

The Elm Theater opened in 1937 and closed in 1960. In 1963 it became the Elm Bargain Mart. The frontage, marquee etc were torn down in 1965. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s the former auditorium became Armanetti’s Liqour Store and then in 1986 became a True Value hardware store which remains in use today.

fab4fan
fab4fan on April 16, 2008 at 9:48 pm

The building has been vacant for at least the past year since the hardware store (True Value) closed.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 25, 2008 at 11:19 am

Here is a circa 1945 photo.

dsadowski
dsadowski on January 7, 2010 at 11:44 am

The Facebook group Elmwood Park-Memories-of Places Gone Bye has a pic of the Elm that dates to Fall 1946 (based on the US release date of They Were Sisters starring James Mason):

View link

dsadowski
dsadowski on July 14, 2011 at 5:03 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
dsadowski on July 16, 2011 at 3:22 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
dsadowski on August 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

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
dsadowski on August 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

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
RiisPark on February 15, 2013 at 3:56 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
dsadowski on February 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

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.

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