5825 W. Division Street,
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The Ambassador was built for the M & H Theaters Corporation in 1924 by architect Harold E. Gallup serving the far western Chicago neighborhood of Austin.
It could seat 2500 in its auditorium and originally hosted stage shows in addition to motion pictures. It was built in the Neo-Classical style and featured a domed lobby which was topped by a cupola.
Its marquee was V-shaped, and had signage on both Division and Monitor Avenue. Over the marquee were four large arched windows. Terra-cotta decoration covered much of the facade, which was of pale colored brick.
After the death of Knute Rockne in a plane crash in 1931, the Ambassador was renamed the Rockne in his honor (similar to Chicago’s Will Rogers Theater at Belmont and Central being named for the cowboy star after his own death in a plane crash).
The Rockne was showing adult films by the 1970s. After its days as a movie house ended in the very early 1980s, the Rockne began a new life as a church, which it still serves as today.
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