Lincoln Village 7-9
6101 N. Lincoln Avenue,
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I believe this theatre, the original Lincoln Village, went up in the 1950’s. It was built at the same time as the Lincoln Village shopping center. Wieboldt’s department store anchored the plaza from it’s opening until the 1980’s. Some say that this was the first modern shopping center built in Chicago.
Like many theatres of it’s time, the Lincoln Village started off as one large theatre. I would estimate original seating around 1,000-1,100. It was a plain stadium style auditorium. But it had an attractive, spacious lobby and plenty of parking. It was split into three cinemas at some point in the 1970’s or 1980’s. This is how I came to know the buildling, going with my friends and family to enjoy such great films as “Back to the Future”.
In the late-1980’s Cineplex Odeon added six more screens in a new building on the north end of the plaza, as part of their wave of Chicago construction. At this point the building took on the “7-9” name. At some point in the 1990’s the 7-9 was closed and demolished during a remodeling of the entire plaza.
The plaza as a whole is doing well now. There is an Office Depot taking the anchor store that was long-vacant after Wieboldt’s went bankrupt. But the only remaining cinema operation is the “1-6” constructed by Cineplex Odeon (though it is no longer associated with Cineplex or any of it’s merger-related successors). By most accounts it is poorly managed.
In the near future it is likely that the long history of movies at Lincoln Village will come to an end. Ironically, with it’s stadium seating, the 7-9 might have fared better today than the 1-6 had it survived. The traditional seating found in the newer building is certainly not a selling point to modern movie audiences.
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