Mars Theater

2556 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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Undated photo courtesy of the Logan Square Preservation Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Logan Square, named for the northwestern Chicago neighborhood it was situated in, opened in 1913. It was originally a vaudeville house, but was soon acquired by the Lubliner & Trinz circuit and converted into a movie theater. It could seat almost 1,320. The theater was renamed the Rio Theatre in 1934, and renamed the Mars Theater in 1949.

The Logan Square Theatre was different from another Logan Square neighborhood movie house, the Logan Theatre, which is still open and operating as a quad, and originally was called the Paramount Theatre.

The Mars Theater was demolished in 1968. Today, most of the site of the theater is occupied by the parking lot of the nearby Mega Mall shopping center. A portion of the theater property is also now the Blue Line “El” tracks, specifically where the tracks start to go underground at Milwaukee Avenue.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Broan on December 11, 2006 at 1:30 am

Part of the Logan Square is visible in this photo of the Logan Square El Terminal.

GFeret on January 3, 2007 at 2:32 pm

This LOGAN SQUARE theatre was called the MARS in its final years (had large marquee), and its' demolition I would place @ 1965 (technically before the subway ramp began in 1969). I used to go right past it then although shuttered for (apparently) years, when you rode the Kimball CTA bus from the north entering the old ‘L’ terminal bus lanes. Another name for the LOGAN SQUARE / MARS theatre would be the RIO. The MegaMall bldgs alluded to elsewhere here definately were not the theatre(s); they’d be a couple doors south of the original site. Hope I’ve been of some help.

Broan on January 3, 2007 at 4:21 pm

It was under demolition (not undermining) on October 10, 1968 when the cutting of a steel support in the theatre caused a three-story brick wall to collapse, raining debris on cars and el tracks.

Broan on January 3, 2007 at 4:31 pm

It was renamed the Rio after a 1934 remodeling, and the Mars in 1949. Interestingly the mars name was the original one announced in 1934, but apparently not adopted for 15 years.

rso1000 on January 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Finally a photo and a name ! ! ! !

The Logan Square Theatre can be seen on the front page and it is also the photo of the month of October in the NEW / C.T.A. calendar.

The Auditorium stood were the incline to the subway is now. Obviously an OLD photo as the side sign is still advertising Vaudeville. You can see it was no SMALL theatre! My Guess is the east end of the building was flush against the remaining buildings.

You can also see it in the background here of photos logansquare07 and crt223 .

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm


I was wondering which Logan theatre that October photo referred to. Then I realized that the old Logan Square ‘L’ terminated to the southeast of the present, surviving Logan Theatre.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Fourth photo down. What is this?

DavidZornig on October 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Undated photo as the Logan Square Theatre added, courtesy of the Logan Square Preservation Facebook page. They listed the address as 2556 N. Milwaukee Ave., not 2542. Anyone have an official address source?

Broan on October 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Here is another. Gives architect as Horatio Wilson, who also designed the Harper Theater.

GFeret on October 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm

the 2556 address street number to me makes much more sense (than 2542), from remembering the Mars in the mid-‘60s

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