Berwyn Theatre

6404 W. Cermak Road,
Berwyn, IL 60402

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Berwyn TheatreĀ©  Berwyn IL 1987...Don Lewis

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theater, built for the Schoenstadt circuit as the Parthenon in the western Chicago suburb of Berwyn, opened in 1928. It sat over 1,600 and contained a 4/16 Barton organ.

In 1930, it was renamed the Berwyn Theatre, and its management was taken over by Balaban & Katz. The Berwyn Theatre was re-modeled by architect William L. Pereira in 1936.

The Berwyn continued to operate for another half century. After sitting vacant for several years, the theater was heavily damaged in a blaze in 1990 and demolished afterwards.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 46 comments)

0123456789
0123456789 on July 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

That theatre is intereating. Reminds me sort of the Ra,mova Theatre. In Bridgeport.

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 17, 2010 at 5:06 am

From the early 1920s a picture postcard view of the Parthenon Theatre before it became the Berwyn in Berwin IL.

carlino49
carlino49 on November 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I remember going to the Berwyn Theater many times as a young boy in the late 50’s and early 60’s. As I recall, kids could get in for 25 cents in those days. You actually got to see a double feature with cartoons! How about that!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Douglas Deuchler’s book Berwyn has a larger black-and-white version of the picture of the Parthenon Theatre at the top of this page, and identifies it as a 1924 postcard. That’s probably correct.

Another Arcadia Publishing Company book, Czechs of Chicagoland by Malynne Sternstein, identifies another view of the Parthenon as one of a series of photos depicting Czech communities around Chicago published by photographer by E.F. Macha in 1925.

The architectural style of the building would have been retardataire for the late 1920s. I’d guess that the Parthenon opened in the early twenties, or maybe even the later 1910s.

DonLewis
DonLewis on March 24, 2011 at 3:40 am

From Berwyn, a close up showing some of the remarkable detail on the since demolished Berwyn Theatre building.

PMitchell
PMitchell on October 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

The Woolwoth’s like store between Ridgeland and Culyer avenues was Neisner’s 5&10 cent store.

joe voypick
joe voypick on December 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

In the 40s and 50s, this was a second round house, that is, movies played in downtown Chicago, (1st run) then to places like the Berwyn and Olympic. Eventually they made the 3rd run shows. To compete,Berwyn, like others,had low prices until 5pm when they were increased..hey…a family of 4 could save a dollar just by going early.

joe voypick
joe voypick on December 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

In the 40s and 50s, this was a second round house, that is, movies played in downtown Chicago, (1st run) then to places like the Berwyn and Olympic. Eventually they made the 3rd run shows. To compete,Berwyn, like others,had low prices until 5pm when they were increased..hey…a family of 4 could save a dollar just by going early.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm

The inside of the entire theatre had been spray painted dusty rose/pink over the other coats of paint. I have some pieces of the plaster and some terra cotta from the theatre when it was being torn down. I remember my uncle taking me to get a haircut at the barbershop on the Ridgeland Avenue side of the theatre. Our family doctor was just across the street from the theatre on the Ridgeland side. Remember when the Douglas Park “L” went right by the North side of the theatre at ground lever in what is now the parking lot?

In 1924 a Barton Theater Pipe Organ 4/16 (manual/rank, keyboards/set of pipes) was shipped 180 miles from the factory in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to the theatre. That was a good size organ! Anyone know what happened to the organ?

RD&TD

Molly51
Molly51 on October 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Worked at this theatre had a lot of fun. I was 16 my mother got me the job.

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