Mode Theatre

3912 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60613

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1937 photo credit IDOT.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Keystone Theatre on December 17, 1913, this theatre was located in the Lakeview neighborhood, on N. Sheridan Road near W. Dakin Street. It was designed by architectural firm Rapp & Rapp and operated by the Essaness circuit in its early years.

In 1935, after an Art Deco remodelling to the plans of architectural firm B. Leo Steil & Co., the theatre was renamed the Mode Theatre. Around the mid-to-late-1960’s, the theatre was renamed the Teatro Puerto Rico, showing Spanish-language films. In 1969, the theatre was renamed again, as the Festival Theatre, which was originally an art house cinema, but by the early-1970’s, had begun to show pornographic films. The Festival Theatre closed in 1983.

The former theatre, after housing a grocery store for years, was demolished in early-2005. A new building has been constructed on the site with a bank on the street level and condominiums on the upper floors.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 86 comments)

KenC on March 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

1937- ten years before I was born, that vertical sign with the accent on the “e” looks exactly the same as I recall it from 1957 to about 1968, when the neon was removed and the theatre became the PUERTO RICO. The letters were hand painted, and the black background was turned white or light yellow. Saw “GOLDFINGER” in English- with Spanish subtitles- to a near empty auditorium. Thanks for posting, Compass.

KenC on June 23, 2012 at 12:51 am

Nice pics, Tinseltoes. As the Keystone, rather fancy looking outside; as the Mode, much plainer. The tiny boxoffice remained the same- a nice, easy job-assuming you didn’t have claustrophobia! Thanks for sharing.

rivest266 on June 26, 2012 at 2:02 am

Grand opening ad posted here.

DavidZornig on February 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I just added a Free Pass image in the photos section. It was for both the Festival and Aardvark down on Wells Street in Pipers Alley. Image courtesy of Bill West.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 25, 2014 at 1:52 am

I’d have to say in this case the new development is better for the neighborhood. The Mode wasn’t much to begin with, it was never going to be a theater again, and it was run down when they demolished it. The condos aren’t anything special. But they are bright and new and seem to be reasonably occupied. Now if only Thorek Hospital would stop buying property and land-banking it the neighborhood might completely fill in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

The January 24, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World said that Charles J. Schaefer had opened the Keystone Theatre on December 17. He was already operating the Lyceum Theatre and the Garfield Theatre, and was contemplating the construction of a 1,600 seat house on the North Side of Chicago. Another source indicates that the Garfield Theatre Schaefer operated was the one at 2844 W. Madison.

The 1935 Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to says that the remodeling of the Keystone Theatre in to the Mode Theatre was designed by the firm of B. Leo Steil & Co.

Boxoffice no longer provides direct links between magazine pages on its web site, so here are links to the three pages on which the article about the Mode appears:




DavidZornig on July 10, 2015 at 1:03 am

1975 photo of the Festival Theatre by Bob Rehak. Copy & paste to view.

Broan on October 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm 1913 article indicates Rapp & Rapp were architects for a theater at Sheridan/Dakin.

rso1000 on December 9, 2015 at 6:29 am

In the Final Years the store fronts north of the entrance were demolished for parking lot as the Auditorium was converted to a food store for a couple of years. I do NOT recall if the Lobby was retained or also demolished for parking.

DavidZornig on April 28, 2016 at 2:09 am

1975 photo as The Festival added, © and credit Saul Smaizys.

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