Crawford Theater

19 S. Pulaski Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 6:41 am

This opened on March 14th, 1914. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section for this theatre.

Broan on November 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

NYC tore down even more big theaters than Chicago did. There’s just a limit for what’s supportable. Setting aside property taxes, who would pay to maintain these buildings with no foreseeable future use for 50-60 years? If all the loop theaters were still there, it’s likely none of them would be profitable. There’s only so much market and some pruning is painful but ultimately necessary.

BobbyS on November 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

In so many cities across the states, plenty of these buildings stayed around for many years and found new uses. The west side theatres went down almost 60 years ago. When you think of Brooklyn, New Jersey and the Loews Theatres there all seeing new life. Chicago’s Uptown awaiting; Joliet & Aurora came to life; Rockford on the rise. This was a major destination in Chicago. I have no idea how property taxes might have influenced the decision to wreck. Couldn’t the city hold the deed like the King’s in NY? A mega church maybe? There is still life I would imagine around there. Probably a Starbucks or two. The Granada should have been saved as a jewel performance art centre. The time was right.

Scott on November 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

Bobby, unfortunately, even if they had somehow survived to this point, they would still be white elephants. There’s just no use for them in that location. The one neighborhood theatre that I thought could have made a go of it was the Granada. It had always been quite popular with the public. But Loyola had other ideas.

BobbyS on November 13, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Too bad the Marbro & Paradise Theaters were not just boarded up and still there waiting for a new generation to discover the wonders of those buildings. But I imagine B&K would be liable for break-ins & other things that might have gone on inside.

Scott on November 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

Interesting. It’s nice to hear a little about what’s happening in Garfield Park. I looked up St. James church but don’t really remember it. Sad that it’s gone. It appears to have been a beautiful building, which I guess makes it a target in Chicago. Not sure of the exact location of the Garfield Park pool. I can probably figure it out from an old aerial map. Is that gone, too?

GFeret on November 13, 2013 at 10:34 am

the brachs factory—as decrepit as it was—actually served a post mortem purpose partially spruced-up in a recent batman movie filmed in chicago. besides that it had been penetrated by urban explorers, sometimes called ‘parkour’, my oldest son included. i’m glad they finally decided to reduce it to deserved rubble, but it just goes to show you how long—decades—something as useless as that could endure

Scott on November 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

I don’t recall the St. James church, at least not by name. I’m sure I would recognize it though. I’ll have to Google that. I didn’t know the Brachs factory was still there. That had to have been empty for a very long time. I’d be surprised if the Guyon building ever comes to life again. A high density building in what is now a very low density neighborhood doesn’t make sense. Then again, it has hung on this long so who knows.

GFeret on November 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

the guyon is solidly boarded up, that it remains today may mean sopmething or it may mean nothing at all. it’s exterior color may’ve saved it so far, but my wife said it’s one of the 10 most endangered, and i can think of one or 2 others i marvel they still remain. we drove by it i think the same morning we drove by and took a last loving look at St. James Church which they just did demolish. and btw the brachs candy factory finally is being leveled.

i wonder can somebody tell me the exact location of the swimming pool for garfield park back then?

BobbyS on November 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi Scott..I Thought of you when I passed the MIDWAY theater in Rockford last week. What a facade! I passsed the Guyon a year ago and it was boarded up I remember. It seemed like something was happening and it just stopped. Maybe grants just dried up who knows. This was “our little world” way back in the 50’s. Madison/Crawford corner. It sure made an impression on alot of people for we still remember the Crawford, Paradise and Marbro with great fondness.

Scott on November 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Yes, the picture makes it look like the “GUYON” sign is across from, or even north of, the Paradise. But it was a good block or more south of the Paradise. So how does the Guyon Hotel look these days? I haven’t driven through the area in well over 20 years.

GFeret on November 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

the vertical sign for the GUYON hotel looks further out (north) to me in that photo, although i know the Paradise theatre address actually was a few doors further (must be the actual placement of the sign, since the hotel’s a long building). my wife asked me to drive by it (the Guyon) a couple months ago because she knew it’s on an endangered list. as a kid i went with my mom frequently for madison/pulaski in late ‘50s-early '60s (goldblatts, alex/marbro/crawford theatres)

Scott on November 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

p.s. My thanks to Lou Rugani for posting the photo. I went to the Crawford a few times in the late 1950s but have never been able to locate a picture of it. I couldn’t recall what it looked like. I still have no memory of the inside. I’m sure it was rather plain, but it would be great to see it again.

Scott on November 5, 2013 at 10:44 am

I believe the photo is from the late 1940s, probably 1947. The marquee of the Crawford is advertising “Boom Town” which was originally released in 1940. However, the automobiles are later than that, so it’s probably 1947, which would coincide with the time “Boom Town” was re-released. The vertical sign on the left in the distance reads “Guyon”, which was the name of the hotel it was attached to. That building still stands, and is actually a little south of the Paradise Theatre in the photo. The Paradise Ballroom was indeed operating at the time, and was just a little north of the Guyon, almost directly across the street from the Paradise Theatre. I don’t see a sign for the ballroom in the photo.

BobbyS on November 4, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I think the sign reads DANCE. The ballroom was still going strong I presume. I also think it was called Paradise but not sure. Great photo of a great street!

GFeret on November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

the 1950’s black & white photo recently posted showing the CRAWFORD Theatre on the right side of Pulaski Rd is terrific in my estimation. one can also see in the distance the marquee of the PARADISE Theatre, and even further on the left is another vertical theatre-like sign (but it must be for something else, maybe somebody has an idea). this photo is looking north from the middle of the intersection of pulaski rd and monroe st (just pretend you’re a northbound chicago surface lines streetcar)

BobbyS on July 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

Danger is as danger persists…We never thought about dodging bullets on a daily basis just to get to a movie theater like the Crawford, Shootings everyday on the west side..If that isn’t danger, what is?

Broan on January 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

There are good areas and bad areas of Garfield Park. This is not a bad area – there’s business and new development. How are you judging danger?

JAYJay on January 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm


Scott on September 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I’ve never seen a picture of this theatre. I barely remember it from my youth, and I would love to see a picture to remind me of what it looked like.

BobbyS on April 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Saturdays were wonderful at the library and the Crawford next door followed by a soda in the 1950’s. Great times.

amoswald on February 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

I think they showed the Mexican vampire flicks even in the early 60s.

LouisRugani on January 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

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.

GFeret on February 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

Can’t be sure which was the last film I saw here at CRAWFORD;
THE INNOCENTS (Deborah Kerr) 1963
THE HAUNTING (Julie Harris) 1961

those 2 old spooky (for my young age then) B&W titles’re now running together in my distant memory

kencmcintyre on November 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm

In 1960 it was still listed as the Crawford in the Chicago yellow pages.