Brighton Theatre

4223 S. Archer Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60632

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Original Brighton Park Theater facade

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Brighton Park in 1919, this theater was built for the Schoenstadt circuit by the firm of Levy & Klein, whose other Chicago theaters include the North Side’s Granada and Diversey (later the Century) Theatres. It was named for the neighborhood it was located in and stood on Archer Avenue near Sacramento Avenue.

The Brighton Park Theatre, which did not have a stage and was built specifically for movies, also contained a 2/6 Kimball organ.

The theater was known as the Brighton after the ‘Park’ portion of its name was dropped during the 50s.

After a long life as a popular neighborhood house, it closed its doors in 1991, and in September 2003, was torn down.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 99 comments)

VintageBob on April 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Pilsendan, you can stop with the hysterics. The racist label is inaccurate and in any case does not intimidate me in the least. I’ve stated nothing but facts. Brighton Park has seen a massive influx of Mexicans over the years and it is now predominantly Mexican. And with them come plenty of illegal aliens, a displacement of American culture (look at how many exclusively Mexican restaurants line Archer Ave now), tons of gang bangers (Mexican/Hispanic gangs, tagging, graffiti, and vandalism. If you look up the crime stats, they have skyrocketed since the demographic shift, incomes have dropped, home values bottomed out, and education levels plummeted. Most of the signage in the area is written in Spanish. It’s like being in a foreign country, visiting Brighton Park these days. All of this has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with reality. So get off your high horse and stop acting like anyone who speaks the truth is racist.

pilsendan on April 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

In your case the racist label is concise. And the moment you went running from then neighborhood you were intimidated. When I first moved here, there were plenty of illegal alien Polish people here. And all of Archer Ave. was full of Polish and Lithuanian restaurants and stores. And all the signage was foreign. It was like being in Gdansk or Warsaw. Luckily all these businesses, like yourself moved away. I remember many groups of young racist white kids trying to intimidate the newly arriving Mexican families. Not being a people that run from this type of thing. The young Mexican people chose to protect themselves. By knocking some sense into this groups. Being isolated in you little suburb, you probably haven’t heard that the economy has affected all parts of the city.And crime is also up in all parts of the city. In the last seven to ten years Kelly High School is one of the highest ranking schools in the city. Yes Archer Avenue has come a long way. The businesses have returned. There are now many stores and restaurants that cater to the needs of the local people. So the reality is what you call the demographic shift, and what we refer to as white flight. Was the best thing to happen to OUR neighborhood. This IS America. And the TRUTH is unlike you I don’t believe that I am any better than anyone. And that we all have to learn to live together. And I won’t go running or be intimidated by anyone simply because they are different. Hope you learn the truth and may God bless us all. Even you sir.

VintageBob on April 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Pilsedan, you’re the one obsessing about race here, not me. And your comments such as “Luckily all these businesses, like yourself moved away”, in reference to Polish and Lithuanian people and businesses, is in itself racist. What reason do you have to say that, other than racially based hatred? You call me racist for pointing out the demographic shift that brought in gang bangers, crime, and lower standards of living, and yet you’re the one saying it’s good that the people who previously lived there – hard working Poles and Lithuanians who gave the place a higher standard of living and a cleaner, safer environment – have moved out. That is clearly a racist statement. Let me give you some incontestable FACTS about Brighton Park. You can go research this to verify my statements.

In 1960 Brighton Park was 99.8% white and less than 1% Hispanic with only 20.4% foreign born. In 2010 Brighton Park was 85.29% Hispanic (69% of those being Mexican) and 8.12% white with 46.3% foreign born

Today, less than ¼th (24%) of Brighton Park residents speak English. Today, 48% of Brighton Park residents lack a high school diploma. Today, only 56% of Brighton Park residents complete even an 8th grade education. Today the violent crime rate in Brighton Park is 22% higher than the average in Chicago and 3,332% higher than the Illinois average. Today the property crime rate in Brighton Park is 22% higher than the average in Chicago and 1,518% higher than the Illinois average. When it comes to safety (from violent crime), Brighton Park now ranks in the BOTTOM third of all Chicago neighborhoods.

The percentage of teen birth rate is 75%. The unwed birth rate is 56%.

The Poles who used to live in Brighton Park, the very people you seem so happy to see leaving the area, created a much better neighborhood than the later incoming Mexicans in every category of measurement. The neighborhood was cleaner, had few if any gangs, no graffiti on every building, etc. People were not afraid to walk the streets at night. People were here legally, they spoke English, and they were more highly educated. Income levels were higher. The teen and unwed birth rate was much, much lower. There can be no sane argument against the fact that Brighton Park has declined significantly in the last 20-30 years. The facts speak for themselves.

You seem to have a psychology of victim-hood, with all your bizarre references to the brave, upstanding Mexicans who fearlessly stood up to the evil, racist Poles that were trying to “run out” and “intimidate” the incoming Mexicans. Ideologically lawless people like yourself always present the argument in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. When Mexicans start moving in and bringing with them low education levels, high crime rates, high illegitimate birth and teen birth rates, violence and poverty and whites resist to try to stop that influx of indecency, you call it racism. If whites flee the area, you call it white flight and accuse whites of being scared and wimpy while portraying the incoming crowd as noble if oppressed people who are simply overcoming evil racists. You clearly want to be a champion for crime, poverty, and poor quality of life.

The bottom line (and undeniable reality) of Brighton Park is that as the influx of Hispanics (mainly Mexicans) increased, the standard of living decreased. Poverty levels, violent and property crime levels, teen birth rate, unwed birth rate, foreign born birth rate, illegal alien rates and gang activity soared to new, unheard-of heights, while income levels, property values, education levels, and overall standard of living dropped precipitously. That’s historical fact and beyond debate.

So you can stop waving the flag of Mexican nationalism and stop being proud of what your people have accomplished in Brighton Park, because it is nothing to be proud of. It is something to be ASHAMED OF.

Broan on April 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Both of you, review the link below the comment box.

“Contribute something to the conversation No personal attacks Stay on-topic Please read our community guidelines before posting →”

VintageBob on April 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Broan, my original post was on topic. When someone with an agenda comes in here accusing me of being racist for simply stating factual info about the area, that in itself demands a response to rectify the lies. I see the link clearly, but sometimes you have to bend the rules to right a wrong.

Broan on April 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm

It’s a big claim to say “demographic shift” and I’d call that opinion. The Congress and Vic theaters were both spanish language theaters at one time, and there were others. Who’s to say it didn’t close because by 1991 there was only a handful of single-screen neighborhood theaters in the entire city? Who’s to say the management just didn’t want to run it anymore? It’s a real stretch to pin it just on “demographics”.

VintageBob on April 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Broan, I’ve known and lived in or near Brighton Park for almost half a century, and I’ve studied the issue closely. Yes, it is due to a demographic shift and the very alien values the incoming demographics hold.It is no stretch to blame it on that. No one who is honest and looks at the facts objectively can disagree. Everyone I know who grew up there agrees.

Broan on April 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Show me a statement from the management in 1991 and I’ll call it a fact. I suppose the mexicans were also responsible for industry consolidation, the rise of multiplex theaters, home video, cable television, and the general inefficiency of a 1200 seat single screen theater with a balcony and no parking?

VintageBob on April 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Broan, you’re someone who just doesn’t want to deal with reality. We’ll just leave it at that. People like you and Pilsedan simply don’t want to acknowledge reality. Luckily, others (such as me) are comfortable dealing with reality.I think at this point neither of us has anything left to say, and this thread is getting ridiculously off topic.

Broan on April 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Enjoy your box of brick shards.

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