Crown Theatre

1605-11 W. Division Street,
Chicago, IL 60622

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Crown Theater, 1910

This nearly 1,460-seat theater was opened August 29, 1909, in the Wicker Park neighborhood, on Noble Square. Its auditorium contained a stage, balcony and the theatre designed Art Nouveau style.

Originally a vaudeville house, the Crown Theatre was initially operated by Carruthers & Rickson. On August 19, 1919 it was taken over by the Ascher Brothers circuit. Later, by the time it was acquired by Essaness, it switched over to movies.

The Crown Theatre was closed in 1960, and was demolished in 1963.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

DavidZornig on November 18, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Given the address and various descriptions above, the Crown would have been where the Wendy’s restaurant, it’s drive-thru and adjacent parking lot is now.
Across from the small U.S Post Office, also on the South side of Division St.
As noted above, The Crown Theatre would have faced the Manufacturers Bank which is still on the N/W corner.

The dark brick building to the left of the Crown in the 1909 photo, would be where the Pizza Hut and it’s parking lot is now at Ashland & Division. On the S/W corner.

It should also be noted that there recently was/is a small live theatre group that works out of another classic white enamel brick building, just East on Division. In the short block between Milwaukee & Ashland. Next to the old Arandas Burrito place.

Broan on November 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm

The Chopin? That’s listed here.

DavidZornig on November 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm

That’s it! Thanks yet again.

KenC on November 18, 2008 at 8:31 pm

The Crown was one of the few neighborhood theatres that opened its doors early-very early(at least on Sundays). From the Chicago Sun Times movie directory dated Sunday, August 25, 1957: CROWN COOL! OPEN 10 A.M. Science-Fiction Thrillers! “Giant Claw” & “Night the World Exploded”. The Alvin was another theatre that opened at 10 A.M. -every day- for a number of years. Also- for at least a short period of time- the Crown, Irving, Biograph, and Mode were probably owned by the same company. Each of the four theatres had a black dot to the left of the name.(October 1957).

kencmcintyre on November 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Still listed in 1960 yellow pages. Phone number was HUmblt 6-1021.

DavidZornig on April 7, 2009 at 8:07 am

Reactivate notification status.

roadside57 on June 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Hate to get technical but, for the record, the Crown stood empty until the spring of 1963, when it was demolished. Two movies I especially remember seeing here are “Bad Day at Black Rock” in ‘55, and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” in 1957, right before my family left the old neighborhood for the suburbs.

An earlier post mentioned Palmgren’s Grill across Ashland, which had two spectacular neons to complement the bright lights of the Crown on what was otherwise a nondescript one-story corner taxpayer that is still standing. The sign for the grill itself included neon palm trees, while a rooftop sign for Miller High Life, with the Girl in the Moon on top, was especially impressive, until Miller temporarily retired the girl and removed her image sometime in the early ‘50’s.

Another one-story lunchroom and soda fountain was located on the west side of Ashland, adjacent to the Crown, with a string of billboards on its roof. The billboard closest to the intersection of Division and Ashland typically was dedicated to whatever movie was playing at the Crown.

Along with huge posters for first-run films, I remember that same corner billboard also used to promote championship fights that were shown at the Crown on closed-circuit TV. I vividly recall a display advertising the telecast of the Marciano-Archie Moore heavyweight championship fight in the fall of 1955.

jwhuebner on December 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

As of 2011-12, the Pizza Hut has been demolished. Workers driving in pylons (fall 2012) uncovered a brick foundation below the surface. One construction guy told me it belonged to the old theatre. He gave me one of the bricks, part of my rapidly growing collection of bricks from demolished Wicker Park/West Town buildings. It was the guy who runs the newsstand across the street (Division & Ashland, SE corner) who first told me about the Crown.

dallasmovietheaters on January 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Grand opening for the Crown Theatre was on August 29, 1909 by Carruthers and Rickson. After a ten-year lease lapses, Ascher Brothers takes on the Crown with an August 9, 1919 grand opening that is posted in photos along with Robert Berlin sketch.

atmos on July 19, 2018 at 6:14 am

John Eberson appears to be the original architect of this theatre.

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