American Theatre

8 N. Ashland Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60607

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American Theatre, 1916

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The American Theatre opened in 1915 in the Union Park neighborhood on Ashland Avenue at Madison Street, just a few blocks east of the present-day location of the United Center.

In the 1950’s, the American Theatre was part of the Essaness chain. By the 1960’s, it was showing Spanish-language films. It closed in 1971 and has since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

William
William on April 20, 2005 at 5:40 am

The American Theatre opened on August 23rd, 1915.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 10:42 am

This is part of an article from the Suburbanite Economist, dated 2/1/61. Fair Play for Cuba is best remembered by one of its former supporters, Lee Harvey Oswald.

ROSSEN TAKES OVER ASHLAND AVE. THEATER

John A. Rossen, chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba committee, is president of a corporation operating the American theater at 8 N. Ashland, it was disclosed this week. Rossen is the former Communist party organizer who once operated the Cinema Annex theater near Kedzie and Madison, which specialized in the showing of Russian films, many criticized as being Red propaganda.

Rossen, who was a columnist for the Daily Worker, Russian propaganda newspaper, also publishes the Maverick, a pro-Communist newspaper. Rossen is listed as president of Empresas Latinas Inc., chartered April 12, 1960, to show Latin and Spanish films at the American theater. Julio Partillo is secretary-treasurer and Fred Rodrigues is manager. Both were associated with Rossen at the Senate theater after he left the Cinema Annex.

KenC
KenC on December 27, 2008 at 6:21 am

From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings- Friday, May 17, 1957: AMERICAN 3 FEATURES! Virginia Mayo-Joel McCrea “Colorado Territory” Colleen Miller “Hot Summer Night” plus “Prehistoric Women”.

OeOeO
OeOeO on September 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Just a nostalgia note, this theater was situated a trifle north of
the Madison,Ashland and Ogden intersection where there was an old early skyscraper on that little island that hosted the revolving Turtle Wax turtle.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2010 at 3:18 am

Here is An early photo of the American Theatre, from a 1916 book, “Theatres and Motion Picture Houses” by Arthur Sherman Meloy.

This was a remarkable building. Mahler and Cordell were certainly paying attention to what was going on in Midwestern architecture during the period. I don’t know of any other theater that displays so much of the Prairie style. It’s too bad this one has been lost.

Broan
Broan on August 19, 2011 at 7:21 am

Looks a lot like the Vic.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 10, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Here is a “What Was There” link with a fade of the American Theatre.

http://www.whatwasthere.com/browse.aspx#!/ll/41.881452,-87.666882/id/57346/info/sv/zoom/14/

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