Lincoln Village 7-9

6101 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60659

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Lincoln Village 7-9

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Contributed by Eric Ellis

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

DavidZornig on February 16, 2009 at 9:03 am

I believe “The Cowboys” w/John Wayne came out in 1972. You can check on IMDB.

I also just realized that by the above address and info, that all my posts to the Lincoln Village 1-6 page, belong on this Lincoln Village 7-9 page instead. This being the one where the Borders building is now. This would have been the furthest South of all the theaters ever built in this mall.

“The Warriors” opened here, and the ill-fated “Cocktail” outdoor bartending promotion took place here as well.(No one checked ID’s) Saw “Hearts of Dixie” here too.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

vicboda on October 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

I remember the Pistoleros, they were at the Hillside Theater too. That was the summer of 1971.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

Article about the original Lincoln Village Theater:

It contains an exterior rendering.

BigJeffy on March 10, 2013 at 6:15 am

This was a GREAT place to watch movies in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It was not very ornate like the older movie palaces – it was very modern.

Back then, it was just one theater with a main floor and a balcony. The stage was very nice and I remember the golden-colored curtains that would open and close for each show. It definitely added something.

Whoever owned it must have been a film buff and also part showman. They always had something extra going on. When they ran Saturday Night Fever, I remember a HUGE sign they put up on the outside of the building with a 30' tall John Travolta poster. Not to mention, the mini disco in the lobby with the dance floor just like the one in the movie.

It was ALWAYS very clean – in a Disney theme park kind of way. Also, nicely air-conditioned in the summer and they had TONS of free parking. It was not unusual for the place to be full back then.

gordonio on April 5, 2013 at 11:38 am

My daughter, Eleanor, who is now at successful Hollywood make-up artist, was a “candy girl” at the Lincoln Village theater. I think she told me that the introductory setting for “Sneak Previews” the original movie review TV program with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel on WTTW, was shot at the Lincoln Village.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 9, 2015 at 11:48 am

I like the artists' rendition shown here.

I’d love to see photogaphs of this place.

Chris on March 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm

New photo uploaded. Circa 1992.

maleahbird on August 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Anyone know specifically why this theater closed? was it simply to renovate the area?

Chris on September 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm

The theater was demolished in early 2002 during a remodeling and reconfiguration of the shopping center. Along with the theater, a Peterson Bank branch, the original What’s Cooking restaurant, and a few other nearby buildings were torn down and replaced with new storefronts that were placed closer to Lincoln Ave. The two main strips in Lincoln Village were remodeled. In its final years, the theater had fallen into disrepair, and the shopping center needed new life. The addition of a Borders, Starbucks, Panera, etc. certainly helped out.

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