Village Art Theatre

1548-50 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60610

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Village Art Theatre

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Built as the Germania Theatre and opened July 29, 1916. It changed name to the Parkside Theatre after the US entry into World War I when anti-German sentiment was running high. The theatre later went through a couple of other name changes over the years including the Gold Coast Theatre in January 1934 and the Globe Theatre. The theatre is located on N. Clark Street at Germania Place in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago.

Prior to being divided into four small auditoriums in the early-1990’s, the theatre could seat 900. Little remains of the original interior design, but the facade, despite being almost entirely hidden behind an ugly modern marquee, is still intact and features red brick and beige terra-cotta highlights.

Long a popular venue for art, foreign and cult films, the Village Art Theatre was closed in March 2007.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 157 comments)

atlantalex
atlantalex on April 11, 2015 at 4:00 pm

The Village Theater may be haunted! Supposedly the last marquee posting occurred in 2007 when it closed, but early Friday morning after the stormy night ‘Bed Of Fear’ appeared above the boarded up doors. Later in the afternoon, the entire south side of the main marquee blew out flying past unsuspecting passersby before landing just short of W. Germania Place. Check it out if you’re in the area.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 9, 2015 at 9:29 pm

I added my 10/08/15 photo of the marquee wrapped in the upcoming development’s advertisement.

Broan
Broan on October 9, 2015 at 9:50 pm

The parapet restoration looks well-done.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 9, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Here’s a 10/06/15 article about the project.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20151006/CRED0701/151009914/old-town-condos-go-on-the-market

imquirky
imquirky on October 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Thanks DavidZornig for the updates. Glad they decided not to tear down the theatre!

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on June 23, 2016 at 9:55 am

Somebody wrote to me and told me that the Germania Theatre might have opened on June 24, 1916; although he said that is unconfirmed. Does anyone out there know an exact date of the Germania’s opening? I can’t find any ads in the June 24, 1916 Tribune.

rivest266
rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm

First small ad as Gold Coast from January 14th, 1934 in the photo section. Also checked the Tribune from 1916.06.24 and found nothing on Page 15.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

I suspect the development that was to be built incorporating the Village Theatre facade either fell through or has been put on hold. The banners said Spring 2017, and one of them has blown over the top of the old marquee. Nothing has taken place except the vacancies on the North Avenue side. Elly’s Restaurant is still open.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 31, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Here is the 2008 preliminary landmark designation archive. It describes the property and lists various additional history that may or may not have been in previous dead links. I happened across it looking up something else.

https://archive.org/stream/CityOfChicagoLandmarkDesignationReports/VillageTheatre_djvu.txt

Broan
Broan on February 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

On 8/4/16 Variety reported that the Germania had opened July 29, 1916, calling the house “one of the prettiest in Chicago”.

On 9/21/17 the Chicago Tribune reported that Lubliner & Trinz were negotiating to lease the theater, this must have fallen through.

It was renamed by May, 1918 due to WWI anti-German sentiment.

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