1710 Sherman Avenue,
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The Varsity Theater, one of the largest suburban Chicago movie palaces ever built, was also one of the most spectacular. It was designed as a French royal chateau of the era of Francois I, and no expense was spared on luxury by its original owner, Clyde Elliot, an Evanston native who had worked in Hollywood for many years. From marble imported from Italy to antique tapestries, the Varsity rivaled many of neighboring Chicago’s finest theaters.
The theater was absorbed into the ever-expanding Balaban & Katz chain’s empire in the early 30s, and remained a popular fixture of downtown Evanston until competition from multiplexes caused its demise in the 1980’s. It closed in 1988 and was converted over to mixed-used retail.
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