Congress Theater

2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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Showing 1 - 25 of 57 comments

RickB
RickB on January 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

A sale of the Congress is announced, but there are complications—two other entities say they have right of first refusal. WBEZ story here.

RickB
RickB on May 25, 2013 at 7:34 pm

City’s Liquor Control Commission moves to revoke liquor license. Carranza says he’ll appeal, but he is also mulling a sale of the theater. DNAInfo story here.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

New charges. Liquor license in jeopardy:

http://chicagoist.com/2013/01/21/bad_behavior_of_congress_theater_se.php

One of these days Carranza is going to run out of luck.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on December 21, 2012 at 7:23 am

Good article, sums up the whole rotten mess really good, I would'nt want that guy living next door to me!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 7, 2012 at 10:08 am

It’s nice to see the building is going to be renovated. Regarding the Portage: I seriously doubt the seats would be kept. Every converted old theater in the city that I am aware of removed them from the main floor.

matthew1964
matthew1964 on August 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I REMEMBER GOING TO TO CONGRESS JUST 1 TIME IN 1968 MY DAD TOOK ME TO SEE A CHRISTMAS MOVIE ,,I REMEMBER SANTA CLAUSE IN IT ,,THATS IT,, MY DAD USE TO GO SEE THE OLD SPAGHETTE WESTERS THERE ,,SOMETIME AFTER THAT IT TURNED INTO TO THE MEXICO THEATER,,

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I would only be against them taking over the Portage, if they insist on removing the seats. The neighborhood is still a movie going clientele. One of the main reasons there was such opposition to the church. If they remove the seats to make it a concert venue only, it will be the same as if the church had taken it over anyway. There will be no way to run classic films or staged events without seats.

Broan
Broan on March 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Some great photos from 2000 are here

JudithK
JudithK on January 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

The Congress Theater made the Chicago news today after a young woman, unable to enter the theatre for a concert on New Years' Eve due to lack of proper ID, was the victim of a violent crime. The crime may or may not result in investigations concerning security issues for the venue.

SilentScreens
SilentScreens on July 29, 2011 at 2:09 am

David: I curated an exhibit for the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival this year on historic cinematic architecture. I would love to be put in touch with the projectionist’s daughter if possible or, at least, hear some of those stories – maybe snag a picture or two!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I met the daughter of one of 2 original Congress Theater projectionists, yesterday at my aunt’s nursing home. I’m going to quiz her about stories & maybe some pictures at a later date. Her dad was Fred Galluzzo. The 2nd was a man named Sam, whose last name she couldn’t recall. They used to drop their dad at work, so they could keep the car for the day.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

In response to Sepctrum, that is the way the Congress has always looked: very shallow balcony.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

The Congress made the news this morning. Apparently Chuck Berry collapsed and had to be helped off stage during his show last night. But returned later to a thinning crowd.

At 84, he had supposedly done 2 New Years shows the night before in New York.
One story has him being checked out by paramedics before the Congress show. Only to fall ill during it as well.
He left in a limo though, not an ambulance.

spectrum
spectrum on October 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm

From those recent photos it looks like the shelf balcony has been removed.

jwballer
jwballer on January 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm

A 4/20 Wurlitzer was installed in the theatre in 1926

monika
monika on October 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm

The Congress Theater was featured on the October 21, 2009 episode of the paranormal show “Ghost Hunters”. The show can be seen in its entirety at www.syfy.com/ghosthunters

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on June 30, 2009 at 10:05 am

Here’s one of my pictures of the Congress from May 25, 2008:

View link

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I didn' realize that the blade letters were removed prior to `82. For the record, that used car lot pictured is also now gone. Maybe within the last 3-4 years.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 15, 2009 at 12:30 am

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 26, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Yes, you got me, I do agree. I guess the State St. elevation just turned my stomach so bad, that I wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Even the shorter building next door to the North is a basically a prop front.
Illuminated window boxes where Dr. Wax Records or whatever used to be.

Thanks for educating me on some of landmark status' angles. What I heard on CVS was they were fully expecting a new structure at first. Then the powers that be informed the building’s actual owner (CVS is a tenant), that the building must remain. CVS then reluctantly agreed to the conversion.
They should have just gone over to the 17 year vacant-S/E corner, which already looked like a drug store. Now a Bank of America.

The heights of the old Hotsie and apartment building to the East consequently had to be rebuilt as was by CVS.
Hence the differing heights.

The Congress has hope, but is in bad need of some cosmetic TLC.
I understand why they removed the seats, but it cost them the “new” roller derby in the process.

The biggest, costliest thing about these old palaces, is heating them in the winter. And keeping a roof and the brickwork watertight.

Broan
Broan on November 26, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Well, landmarks aren’t supposed to be contingent on how well the properties are taken care of, it’s about their architectural, social, aesthetic, character or other significance, and how intact that is. And the Congress definitely retains a high degree of integrity. Any number of locally designated landmarks are literally falling down. Interior landmarking is still extremely rare for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty of regulation.

The only protection National Register protection provides is review if federal funding or permits are involved. The only way local landmarking applies protection to NRHP buildings is if there is some rule that any NRHP building automatically gets local landmarking status too.

The CVS is pretty universally reviled. CVS acted in bad faith and I think broke some laws in their renovation, and the fairly weak Chicago Landmarks Commission didn’t force them to fix it all the way. But I think you’d agree that’s still preferable to having a standard CVS on that corner.