Varsity Theater

1710 Sherman Avenue,
Evanston, IL 60201

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Showing 1 - 25 of 89 comments

DavidZornig on May 23, 2020 at 6:59 am

5/23/20 photo added credit Joe Agnew. The retail tenants appear to have cleared out…

GregoryBear on December 14, 2019 at 7:49 pm

Hello again. I’m still hunting for any old monthly schedules or other memorabilia from the Varsity. I’ll appreciate any leads. Thanks!

GregoryBear on June 15, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Greetings! I just joined. I lived in the Varsity during my college years of 1974-78. Two different legendary movies every night, a world film course! I’m wondering if anyone might have any of the oversize one page monthly schedules they printed during that period, or know who to contact? Thanks so much!!

DavidZornig on April 26, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Evanston Patch article about the same.

DavidZornig on April 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

1945 photo added via Jeff Warmington. Original wider marquee.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 9, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Evanston Round Table, Volume XXI Number 5, March 8, 2018:

Northlight and Developers Withdraw Performing Arts Center Proposal

By Matt Simonette

Broan on March 2, 2018 at 1:58 pm

The redevelopment proposal is dead.

DavidZornig on February 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Original link to the 1976 UIC Library photo, which can be enlarged.

DavidZornig on October 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Here’s an opportunity to tell Evanston’s new mayor to save the Varsity and renovate it for Northlight, instead of tearing it down as part of the proposed tower. Ironically held in a new 1920s style speakeasy, owned by Ron Onesti. Who could tell them of his successes at the vintage Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

That’s terrible. Not only does the building destroy the Varsity, it looks like another oversized, cheap-looking development that has no respect for context. I also have to wonder how many more apartments the market can absorb before we get into bubble territory.

DavidZornig on September 6, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Exactly. Any hopes of renovation dashed in one dismissive sentence. New construction is all about egos. They can’t be the “visionaries” they think they are if they recycle something. I’m willing to bet they’ve already planned for a shorter tower. So it will look like a concession to the community when they complain about it’s size.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on September 6, 2017 at 7:25 pm

It’s not in too poor shape to reuse. I was in the theater a few years ago. They wouldn’t get the extra 35 stories of apartments if they restored the Varsity.

DavidZornig on September 6, 2017 at 6:57 am

Well this is disturbing. Drop the 37 stories idea, renovate the Varsity which is encapsulated behind the GAP, and they’d be heroes to the community. Don’t believe them when they say it is in “too poor shape to reuse”. From this rendering, it looks like they would annex the alley and tear down almost the whole block going North.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on December 24, 2015 at 10:53 am

I photographed the remains of the Varsity Theatre late last year. Check out some of my pictures and a short write up of the theater at: After the Final Curtain

DavidZornig on November 6, 2015 at 2:46 pm

The Varsity is seen at 12:40 in the below History of Evanston link on YouTube. (The Valencia at 10:37 & 11:09) Film by Ron & Sydney Crawford. Narrated by Byrne Piven of Evanston’s Piven Theatre.

james44 on November 5, 2015 at 6:19 am

A long time ago, after the final showings on Friday and Saturday nights, many moviegoers would then head for either Cooley’s Cupboard or the Coffee Room.

DavidZornig on October 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Oil on canvas Varsity painting added, copyright Don Elmi via the below website. Many other theatres featured in it as well. Copy & paste to view.

DavidZornig on August 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

1970 lobby photo added, photo credit and courtesy of Mary Gilbert Albrecht, pictured in her uniform

Patsy on November 15, 2014 at 11:04 am

After reading about this historical theatre it is a shame that the interior was gutted….Evanston’s loss!

Patsy on November 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

Just saw on FB an interior photo of this theatre under After the Final Curtain. Will this theatre be restored as it has an awesome exterior.

DavidZornig on July 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm

You would have to copy and paste it into your browser, starting from the end of the link so my sentence above it doesn’t highlight. Or just scroll back to 08/06/07 in the comments, and click on the link HowardBHass posted originally that says Behind The Gap.

davidplomin on July 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Link won’t open on this site.

DavidZornig on July 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

This link was posted back in 2007. It has photo’s of the dormant balcony area.

davidplomin on July 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I drove by yesterday with a friend from Chicago. I wonder how much was left upstairs in the balcony? From the alley, you can see that all the fire escapes have been removed, and many of the exits are bricked up. You can still see a few metal doors just begging to be opened by us urban explorers. No way for the employees of that Gap store to explore. From what I recall, the stairs leading up to the balcony were just inside the front doors in the lobby. And those are gone as well. All retail space, except maybe far back, the stage area is still there. No need to dismantle it. Too expensive. Just wall it up. It was a grand place to see movies!