Crown Theatre

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

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Crown Theater, 1910

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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

Originally a vaudeville house, the Crown Theatre was initially part of 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 13 comments)

GFeret
GFeret on January 3, 2007 at 5:48 pm

The CROWN theatre bldg stood until 1960 (closed) I saw, then sayonara. Somehow I’ve always associated with the nearby “Paulina Street El”, and it’s skeletal stations, this ghost of a theatre in my mind.

Melodance
Melodance on August 30, 2007 at 10:06 pm

It’s nice to see this theatre remembered. I would see it when we’d go with my mother to the bank or to see my grandmother who lived on Wood Street.

The last time I saw it was during its demolition. It was replaced by a playlot next to a YMCA. I would always look at that playlot and recall that there was once a theatre there.

I also recall the Paulina “L” tracks that would turn off Milwaukee. They were hardly used back then as the trains were already running through the subway.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 18, 2008 at 11:18 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
Broan on November 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm

The Chopin? That’s listed here.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm

That’s it! Thanks yet again.

KenC
KenC on November 19, 2008 at 4:31 am

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
kencmcintyre on November 26, 2008 at 4:38 am

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

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Reactivate notification status.

roadside57
roadside57 on June 23, 2011 at 4:10 am

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
jwhuebner on December 14, 2012 at 12:47 am

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.

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