Academy Theatre

202 N. Genesee Street,
Waukegan, IL 60085

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm

The Academy Theatre is mentioned in the July 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Waukegan, Ill.—A reproduction of the old Waukegan Academy, which stood for fifty years on the site of the new photoplay house, is a feature of the lobby in George K. Spoor’s (head of the Essanay) new Academy theater here. The other side of the lobby has a beautiful painting of the local harbor with its picturesque lighthouse.”

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm




I can hear the preview voiceover playing my head now.

DavidZornig on April 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm

This place was definately where the new multi level parking structure is that served the Genesse when I was there.

DavidZornig on November 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I was a the Genesee Theatre a few years ago. I think the former site of the Academy Theatre ended up just becoming a multi level parking garage.
I don’t remember a steak house or anything else. Unless it was kitty corner from the Genesee, and not directly across the street from it.
I seem to remember taking pictures of the Genesee marquee from the 3rd level of that parking garage. This was maybe 2006 or so.
My full Genesee experience that night is on the Genesee CT page.

MPol on November 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Since when have hotels become more popular than and started to take the place of cinemas? (LOL)

kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Here is part of a Chicago Tribune article from November 2004:

Having declared the fire-ravaged Fiesta Palace structurally unsound, Waukegan is demolishing the former theater, with plans to save a few historical artifacts, officials said. Preservationists had asked city officials to consider salvaging the building’s red brick facade, but the city moved quickly to clear the site after the fire Oct. 27.

The building at 202 N. Genesee St., across from the newly renovated Genesee Theatre, opened in 1916 as Academy Theatre. It was converted into Fiesta Palace, a dance hall, and had been closed for two years, officials said. The city bought the building for $850,000 last year with hopes of renovating it.

Margaret Martin, a board member of the Waukegan Historical Society, said she was disappointed the city didn’t work harder to save the building. “I understand the safety concerns created by a fire-damaged building, but I’m dismayed at the rush to demolish such an important part of Waukegan’s past and future,” Martin said.

balabanandkatz on March 19, 2007 at 3:28 pm

according to our records, this theatre was part of the balaban and katz chain as of October 1st, 1049. for a complete list of b and K theatres visit

David balaban

Broan on November 13, 2006 at 4:02 pm

Here is an older postcard view and [url=]Here{/url] is another

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on October 30, 2004 at 6:58 am

The City of Waukegan has started demolishing the building after an insurance adjuster claimed it was structurally unsound. Apparently they plan on keeping some artifacts. I’m sure part of the big hurry was because the Genessee across the street opens in a month.

STELLARB on October 29, 2004 at 7:40 pm

Sounds like sheer carelessness to me!

Broan on October 29, 2004 at 1:59 am

I guess the idea of cleaning up the street for the show really didn’t work out so well.

richardportalatin on October 28, 2004 at 3:57 pm

Oh! bother another piece of Waukegan History lost to time. The good
news is the Genesee theater across the street will have it grand
opening on Dec.3 2004 with Bill Cosby! Tickets soldout within 4

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on October 28, 2004 at 6:48 am

Workers removing the old marquee in anticipation of the opening of the Genesee Theatre across the street accidentally started a fire yesterday that burned the Academy Theatre. The roof collapsed, but the walls are still standing.

richardportalatin on April 25, 2004 at 5:03 am

Thank you Charles found the pic. Bryan good pic of the theater if you
look at pictures you see the oringnal Academy church in the background the
church was torn down in the early fifties and replace by a Morey
Major sports store. Building is now abandon to be torn down soon

richardportalatin on April 24, 2004 at 11:53 am

I click on your link all I could see was theaters in Chicago area
and some from the Ca. area maybe my computer isn’t down loading all the pics?

richardportalatin on April 24, 2004 at 11:42 am

I went to your site and I could not see the the Academy in Waukegan
the only one I could see was the Academy in Ca.

richardportalatin on April 24, 2004 at 9:50 am

The Academy theater was built on the site where once stood a women
school(1890’s)and church that was called the Women’s Academy So
the theater is named after the school.

richardportalatin on April 24, 2004 at 6:00 am

Just to add on the subject the city of Waukegan recently announced
that instead of a hotel, a steak house resturaunt will be built.

richardportalatin on April 24, 2004 at 5:51 am

The picture posted by btk630 is not the same Academy theater. This
Academy theater was located in Waukegan Il. You sometimes can find
some on E-bay just type in waukegan.

richardportalatin on February 9, 2004 at 11:24 am

The city of Waukegan ended the lease on Fiesta Palace in Dec.2003
the building is now closed and is scheuled to be torn down in the
spring of 2004 and replace by a new hotel.