Brighton Theatre

4223 S. Archer Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60632

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Showing 1 - 25 of 97 comments

Broan on April 16, 2014 at 3:07 am

Enjoy your box of brick shards.

VintageBob on April 16, 2014 at 3:05 am

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 16, 2014 at 3:00 am

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 16, 2014 at 2:17 am

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 16, 2014 at 1:35 am

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 16, 2014 at 1:19 am

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 16, 2014 at 1:12 am

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 16, 2014 at 1:03 am

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.

pilsendan on April 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

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 11, 2014 at 1:57 am

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 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Having lived in Brighton Park for 36 years now. I remember The theater well. I Have been there quite a few times. The theater itself was really nice. But at the time there were a quite a few racist people, much like vintage bob there and around the area. Luckily many more Mexicans moved in and we were able to put and keep racist people like vintage bob in their place. As the economy tanked I like most home owners saw our property values plunge. And the Archer shopping area lost many businesses. However in the past few years, many of the businesses have reopened. And the area is once again thriving. Hopefully with all the racist people like vintage bob gone,it will one day be as busy and profitable as the Little Village area. It is great that those people have left. They were not very hygienic, very nice or very nice to look at. Gotta love progress. Only in America. Thank God.

csigrandma on February 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Bill Nellis.. I read your posts.. could you please contact me at / I read you grew up in the neigborhood.. and I was to ask you a few questions about that neighborhood in the mid fifties. Thanks

Broan on November 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Here is a 1956 photo of the Brighton

tommyboy58 on January 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

The bowling alley on Archer & Kedzie was called Archer-Kedzie Bowl. Clever. Between White Castle & Robert Hall.

VintageBob on June 19, 2011 at 4:47 am

0123456789, it as closed because of a major demographic shift (from Polish/Lithuanian to heavily Hispanic)as the demographic shift brought in people who didn’t watch movies that much, plus it brought in tons of gang bangers. It’s now a crime ridden neighborhood (Brighton Park) and home values have plummeted precipitously there. Sad.

VintageBob on June 19, 2011 at 4:45 am

Just an FYI – several people have written me asking for a piece of the facade, but never wrote back with their address. If anyone wants a piece, all I’m asking is enough to cover shipping. Not looking to make any profit. I’d just love for other fans who cherished this theater to be able to have a piece of it to remember it by.

0123456789 on February 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

This theatre was built as a movie house.

0123456789 on February 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Does anyone know why they torn this theatre down?

VintageBob on January 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

No, Miami Bowl was on Archer and PULASKI. Actually, just a block off Pulaski.

denr98 on January 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm

The name of the bowling alley at Archer & Kedzie was the Miami Bowl.

vanstem on October 27, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I have nice photos of Crane on Kedzie. A friend gave me some. One with the old clock tower and one the new which is the one I remember. A lot of people worked there and once in awhile I meet an oldster who worked there. One told me they used to stock the pond in the back with fish so you can fish at lunch time! Neil

BillNellis on September 22, 2010 at 12:50 am

The Crane Company made plumbing supplies and fixtures. I do not know why Crane closed down, but I would guess it was closely connected with the decline of the Brighton Park neighborhood and the decline of manufacturing all over the south side. When the jobs for working folks left, so did those folks and with them the great neighborhoods I remember. In 1960 the population of Chicago was 3.6 million. Today it is 2.8 million.

krew99 on July 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm


Lamper on June 17, 2010 at 8:17 pm

First off I am so glad I found this site!!! I have enjoyed reading all and I mean all the post about several of the theaters that I have looked up.
As far as the Brighton theater goes I had the opportunity to provide lighting equipment and work an underground rave party there back in late early 1998. When we did our site survey for the place once in we were created by two large dogs that were there for security reasons the caretaker put them on leashes and the hounds of hell were calm and friendly from that point on. I was pretty amazed by the place, it wasn’t what I expected at all. The main floor of the auditorium had all the seats removed, and the caretaker couldn’t tell me what had happened to them. The stage area itself was in so so shape the floor had some soft spots and an access latter that would lead to above the ceiling and grid of the stage didn’t look that safe, that caretaker said it was and said that it would be a problem to cut holes into the ceiling to allow for hang points to fly our equipment. All the wall sconce lighting was still intact and I would say 70% functioning we were all armed with flashlights because we just knew that lighting in old places like this that had been inactive never good lighting. From what I remember the walls and ceiling wasn’t in too bad of shape the water damage wasn’t that bad. The balcony had all the of the seats in it, don’t know if they were original as looked to be of a style you would see in a old Doctors office waiting room… wooden and kind of art deco looking. The projection booth was intact and still had a projector in it; sorry don’t know what kind it was I wasn’t into that type of thing back then my partner did offer to buy it and the caretaker responded with something along the lines of ‘If you want to move it I am sure the owner of the place would let you take it or you can take it right now if you want.”. The overall condition of the booth was to be honest trashed I think the caretaker was living there along with the demons of his life he didn’t want us in there for any length of time. The lobby area from what I remember was rundown and dirty but you could still see a lot of the detail. I seem to remember a nice white (at one time pristine) marble floor and brass railings that lead to the restroom lounge area.
About a week or so later was the rave party, we loaded in through a house left door near the stage, so that would be like the south east corner of the auditorium. We set most of our equipment on our own stands and what not with the exception of brackets that we made to hang of the balcony that were designed and fabricated to allow for only a small anchor bolt to the balcony wall… I hate to say that when we had the opportunity to fabricate and temporary install some type of support we did but I can tell you that the anchor bolt wasn’t more that ½” X 1.5”. When I arrived later that night to “work” the show I was amazed at the crowd this rave pulled in. The place was packed and happing, I asked my partner how come he was going so heavy on the fog machine that night and he replied with “cant you feel it, its water vapor from all the kids dancing and sweating.” I did snap some 35 mm photos but once developed I was kind of upset because the vapor in the air just made the pictures look like some foggy night on the lakefront.
We did one more rave at the Brighton later in the summer, with the establishment of city cracking down on this type of party, for good and bad reasons no more raves were put on here. I am sure that the CPD knew something was going on when there was 500-600 + kids leaving the area @ 6am on a Sunday morning.
I know the area pretty well my old man had a shop a few miles to the east on 35th street so from time to time I would cruise down Archer and see the for sale sign up and think how awesome it would be to own this place and make it a venue for live legitimate taxable entertainment.
Some might say that this is a true hood, but there are still a number of good families in the area that work hard for their money and might have supported a place like this if it was ran by someone with the passion for good live entertainment.
Some might hate to see these place turned into live venues catering to the full scope of music… but it keeps them from the same fate as the Brighton.
In the words of my old man “More condos, where are all these peoples coming from and where are they getting the money from!!!”
Just wanted to share my stories of this place

VintageBob on April 23, 2010 at 1:18 am

Those who want a piece of the facade, please email me at junk(at)undermountain(dot)org and replace the (at) with @ and the (dot) with .