Tower Theatre

1510 E. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60637

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Tower Theatre, Chicago ILL in 1926

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of Chicago’s great lost movie palaces, the Tower, located in the Woodlawn neighborhood at 63rd Street between Stony Island and Blackstone Avenues, near Jackson Park, was one of a trio of very similarly designed (and sized) theaters built by the firm of Fridstein & Company for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit (the Harding, Tower and Congress).

The Tower, the largest of the three, seated just under 3000, and was opened in early 1926, half a year after the Harding, and half a year before the Congress.

All three were designed in a similar Italian Renaissance style. Of the three, the Tower would be the least ornately decorated, but had a large stage and, like its siblings, was home to vaudeville and stage shows in addition to motion pictures for its first decade or so in operation.

In 1928, the Tower, along with the entire Lubliner & Trinz chain, was swallowed up by the Balaban & Katz empire of theaters. It remained a B & K house for the remainder of its existence.

The Tower closed sometime in the 1950s and has, unfortunately, long since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

KenC
KenC on November 9, 2006 at 6:08 pm

To marilynw: In the book “IMAGES of AMERICA – The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban & Katz” by David Balaban, you will find pics of the Tower theatre(and many other B&K theatres- neighborhood and downtown). On page 86, there is a drawing of the outside. It’s nice, but even better- on page 87- there are two great photos. One is of the auditorium- 3,015 seats, according to the text. The other photo is of the marquee, the street, and the elevated tracks. Looks like the tracks are just a few feet away from the theatre. On the marquee: SEE AND HEAR HAROLD LLOYD IN WELCOME DANGER. Then a sign : BALABAN & KATZ. On the other side of the sign, more marquee letters: THE WHOLE SHOW ON THE LIVING SCREEN.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 17, 2006 at 4:08 pm

That is pretty neat. I have never seen a full profile of the Tower before. I wonder if the two towers were clad with building materials, or if they simply mounted signs on them?

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on April 11, 2007 at 11:29 am

NEWS ITEM:
Chicago Daily News, Wednesday, June 5, 1940, p. 23, c. 7—-
COMPLETE ‘GWTW’ FOR NEIGHBORHOODS
The most-talked-of picture ever filmed, “Gone With The Wind,” begins its one week only engagement in the neighborhoods on Friday, June 7, when Balaban & Katz books the technicolor classic into the Tower Theater, 63rd street and Blackstone; the State Theater, 5814 West Madison street, and the Riviera Theater, Broadway at Lawrence.

It will be presented complete and intact, as it is being shown in the Loop.

Reserved seats for the engagements are on sale at special box-offices in each theater and mail orders are being given prompt attention. Seats are reserved for the evening performances which start at 8 pm and for the Sunday matinee, which will begin at 2 pm.

Week day matinees will be continuous from 10 am. Patrons may come as late as 2 pm and see a complete matinee performance.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 18, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Interesting Tower Theatre photo sent by a friend of mine from 1960. Unfortunately, the image is not centered on the theatre.

View link

Scroll down and open this document:

cta6338.jpg

WayOutWardell
WayOutWardell on May 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

There’s an aerial photo from 1962 that shows the theater’s footprint, so it was demolished sometime between ‘60 (when the above CTA photo was taken) and '62. Interestingly, the theater’s adjacent retail and apartment spaces appear intact at least until 1972, when another aerial photo was taken.

rwt
rwt on April 22, 2009 at 6:18 am

My memories of growing up in Woodlawn are very strong. I attended Scott Elementary eight years and then went to Hyde Park H.S. I think it was an honor to be raised among the diversity of culture which surrounded the community.
The Tower, the Kimbark, and the Lexington were all entertainment mainstays for our family. I was a toddler taken to Gone With The Wind, and Frankenstein laid out in the lobby is special to me to this day.
Richard

gorhamzoro
gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

According to the date on the last post, this is not a particularly popular site. I have particular interest in the Tower Theater because I purchased and removed to Louisville, Kentucky, the 4/20 Publix WurliTzer pipe organ from that theater. Three of the cut glass chandeliers from the inner lobby of that theater hang in my home and my brother’s home, even as I write, and two more of them are in rough storage in my basement. If anyone would like to know anything about this organ, I would be happy to correspond. Gorham

gorhamzoro
gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

To contact Gorham

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 1, 2011 at 2:33 am

A picture of 63rd & Stony Island, showing the Tower Theatre’s tower:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29821940@N00/5640714336/in/photostream

paulnelson
paulnelson on October 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

What a handsome structure and tower sign. Should be a landmark still.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater