Evanston 5 Theaters

1716 Central Street,
Evanston, IL 60201

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Showing 1 - 25 of 46 comments

dvarapala
dvarapala on June 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

For some reason I had lots of dates in this theater. :) The last movie I saw here was “Hooper” starring Burt Reynolds.

Here are some photos of the Evanston I (as it was called in my day) being demolished.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm

SAM Meyers was the President and film buyer of this theatre in 1956. Commonwealth Amuse, Corp.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm

“ZELIG” a theatre Woody Allen would like.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Another LOEWS that I did not know about.

balabankatz
balabankatz on October 23, 2009 at 8:44 pm

When the Evanston was an independent it was awesome. The quad of the big theater was an abortion. The smaller newer 70’s screen down the street (was a swimming pool/gym before). Then became the big great Evanston movie house. Aliens in 70mm with 6 track mag sound (wow it was just SO Great)! Loews and Cineplex killed the movies for Chicago. Too Sad!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

You hit the nail on the head LTS. The only logic however was greed disguised at progress.
The City Of Evanston seemed to become WAY more pro-development, after those condos went up at and around Davis & Sherman.
Developers promised tons of multiple units with whatever many new individual tax bills for each. Plus that many more new citizens buying city vehicle stickers, shopping locally, blah blah etc.
Versus one or two bank buildings (or say theaters), with their solo tax bills. Or the city’s very own municipal multi level parking garage, which was deemed “unsafe”, and taking up valuable real estate itself.
I never thought I’d miss those “World’s Largest Garage Sales”, even after it had become rows & rows of new sweat socks & dog chews instead of collectables, but I do.

The Evanston downtown suffered the same fate my beloved Near North Side did under the eyes of former Alderman Natarus for 30+ years. That any & all development was a “bonus” to the neighborhood, and to hell with history and the logic of what over saturation would bring it.

In Evanston’s case, the fact the Northwestern University pays nothing in taxes, and has the most prime lakefront real estate in the city, surely comes into play. The self induced tax shortfalls, are all put on the backs of the homeowners, Some who have owned there since it was a sleepy small town.

I have an 84 year old friend there.
His taxes are between 10K-15K a year, WITH the senior freeze. On a house he paid off in 1970. Just blocks away from Wilmette, where a comparable homes' taxes are around 6K-7K WITHOUT a senior living in them.
His house is likely worth more torn down for the land, than it is now.
Evidenced by a McMansion that went up next to him.

Since both the developers and the city were probably blindsided by the economic turn down, they find themselves right where they deserve to be.
And the Evanston residents are left to suffer. Albeit while the formers get an undeserved “out” by blaming the economy. For what is basically justifiable punishment for their greed, lack of sympathy for local history, and lack of foresight that the condo bubble had to burst on somebody’s watch.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Generally speaking I think the City of Evanston has acted foolishly. They believed they could build thousands of condo units and reap huge tax revenues. To hell with business and industry. Now, several years on, quite a few interesting buildings have been demolished and there are many, many, many vacant units out there. The Evanston Theatre isn’t the only blight. Main St. & Chicago Ave. is another good example. Or how about the post-apocolyptic scene which faces Ridge Ave. just south of Emerson?

Maybe there is some business logic here that I am missing. But as of right now the whole thing just seems stupid.

alex35mm
alex35mm on May 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

It sure is great that we now have a vacant lot where this neat place used to be.

I’m really frustrated with the city of Evanston and that they just let history be erased.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

Reactivate notification status.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 16, 2009 at 11:09 am

Still nothing built here.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 26, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I wonder if they still owned the land after selling the theatre in 47. Another piece of property they didn't have to pay taxes on. I think it was the Evanston Mayor or someone in85 who suggested NU could pay $5 per student/per semester tax or so to pick up the slack that was begining to burden Evanston homeowners. It never happened.

Broan
Broan on November 26, 2008 at 7:21 am

Northwestern owned the theatre until 1947.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 6, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I saw only a few things at The Evanston, “Alien” & “Ghostbusters” for sure. Down the street to the East at the smaller theatres, I saw the first “City Slickers” & few others.
I’m not sure how the neighboring smaller theatres are listed on Cinema Treasures, but they & the Evanston were separated by about 3 store fronts. And had their own address. Even after the larger Evanston was a multi-screen, the smaller Evanston Cinemas down the street stayed open.

strawberry
strawberry on April 14, 2008 at 1:24 am

My uncle used to take the bus to the Evanston on Saturdays when they would play 13 cartoons in a row followed by a full-length Western feature. Since he was under 12 at the time, he got in for just 25 cents. He said he hated turning 12 because it meant that his admission price jumped up to 90 cents. Decades later I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the Evanston with he and his two TMNT-loving sons. The only other films I saw there were Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Flashback (1990).

RiisPark99
RiisPark99 on October 1, 2007 at 2:53 am

Thanks for the shots. It is painful to see any movie house being demolished.

Broan
Broan on September 30, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Ignore the previous comment. More pictures of this theatre are HERE

RiisPark99
RiisPark99 on August 27, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for the sad photos, Bryan

Broan
Broan on August 20, 2007 at 9:35 am

Demolition began last week

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 16, 2007 at 6:40 pm

It’s sadly ironic that I worked for the company that caused this theatre to close, and that were it not for my job with Century, I wouldn’t even know it existed in the first place. I can only say in my defense that had Century have built downtown, it would have been somebody else, possible even Loews themselves.

The pictures of the goodbyes on the electrical panel / heating duct is so sad. When I closed the theatre I started at, it was a very sad day indeed.

I’d love to see more pictures of this place. Something that shows off how odd yet appealing it was as a movie house.

RiisPark99
RiisPark99 on July 16, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Can someone take pictures and share them with us?

alex35mm
alex35mm on July 16, 2007 at 2:24 pm

She’s gonna be gone soon.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 7, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Last time I was through there, about a month ago, it was still sitting.

RiisPark99
RiisPark99 on February 14, 2007 at 2:51 pm

The Evanston is set for demolition. The City Council just voted to allow its destruction so someone can build condos on the site.

Another blow for preservation.

mwynia
mwynia on January 13, 2007 at 6:46 am

I’ve posted this same comment on the Varsity Theater discussion, but I have to admit that it was the Central Street location that first came to my mind when I started thinking about mounting this sort of a renovation project…

I just returned from Portland Oregon, where over the last 15 years they’ve seen about 12-15 of these old theater’s reclaimed for use as brew-pub/restaurants, where you can eat while you watch a film on the big screen. It’s a terrific use of the space, an asset to the community, and obviously they’re doing well as businesses. They typically take out all the old seats and replace them with scattered sofas and coffee tables, or they remove every other row of the theater seating and put in long tables, so that eating is quite comfortable. They serve good but simple fare, along the lines of high-end pizza or burgers, along with wine and beer (often micro-brewed, though not on-site). At non-peak times they use the space for classics, art film series, midnight shows, birthday parties, kids movies and so on.

Any interest is seeing this sort of development? If so, contact me.