Village Art Theatre

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

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Village Art Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built as the Germania Theatre in 1916 but changed to the Parkside Theatre after the US entry into the First World War when anti-German sentiment was running high. The theater later went through a couple of other name changes over the years including the Gold Coast Theatre and the Globe Theatre. The theatre is located on 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 theater 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 148 comments)

DavidZornig on October 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I have read in the past that the auditorium and interior of the theatre were already gutted prior to the landmark designation. So it’s only the facade that will be protected at this point. BTW readers will not be able to open the above link as it is posted. This has been an issue ever since CT changed their website design.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

David; I “blue”-highlight the link. Copy it. Go to my e-mail. Press “Compose”. Paste link to my e-mail in the area in which I type up a letter. Send pasted link to myself. Click on link.

DavidZornig on October 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Or CT could just go ahead fix this, since it’s been an issue for so long…

GFeret on October 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

yes, my link above would have to be of the ‘copy-to-clipboard-and-paste’ variety, and this’d be the first i’ve heard there’s no more ‘inside’ to the theatre! such a relief they got landmark status so a real-estate developer could capitoli$e on the theatre facade—all they ever really wanted.

imquirky on November 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I used to work there as a teen in 1966 when it was the Globe Theatre. I worked the box office; my boyfriend was an usher; my girlfriend worked the popcorn counter. The theatre was a little down-at-the-heels, but was the only movie theater around, except for the Playboy Theater on Dearborn.

I was actually told to document how many negro (term used then) customers bought tickets (!), but I secretly rebelled (made up lame excuses) and ignored this because I thought it was prejudiced even then. My boss (owner?) feared the neighborhood was “changing.” It was—-to a more upscale neighborhood, since Sandburg Village was still being completed.

Drove by it October 2013, still closed but still there.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on April 21, 2014 at 7:44 am

Does anyone know why the terra cotta is being removed from the Village Theatre? I just uploaded a photo that I took yesterday (Sunday, April 20, 2014) to the photos section.

Broan on April 21, 2014 at 7:50 am

9/5/2013 9/6/2013 2013-1504 1548 N. Clark 100486552 Village Theater 42

Exterior: Remove and rebuilt 76 linear feet of 3' high parapet along Clark Street fa├žade per Historic Preservation stamped plans dated 9/6/13.

Salvageable masonry to be retained and reinstalled. Any required new masonry to match historic size, color, texture and appearance. Masonry to be cataloged and evaluated per submitted plans. Historic Preservation staff to be notified to view and approve terra cotta samples prior to order and installation. No other work permitted with this approval.

CrustyB on August 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I hope they preserve it soon. I was just by there and the entire building is slanting noticeably to the right.

RickB on December 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

The Village in 1978: an artistic and financial success, according to Gene Siskel.

atlantalex on April 11, 2015 at 1:00 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.

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