Lawndale Theater

4015 West Roosevelt Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Balcony of the Lawndale Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Lawndale Theater, which opened in 1927, was located in the North Lawndale community on Roosevelt Road at Pulaski Road. It was a rather large neighborhood movie house, seating 2,000, which later featured burlesque, and after that, movies once more, before it was closed in 1963. It was known as the Rena Theater in its later years. Most recently, the former theater had housed a church.

It was demolished in July 2014.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 44 comments)

GFeret
GFeret on May 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm

this place now has one of those big red ‘X’ signs tacked up on the front

i heard that’s supposed to indicate to first responders not to use herculean efforts to save the property in the event of a fire or something and above all, not to try going inside it to rescue anybody because it’s (supposed to be) vacant unless they have specific info/instructions to the contrary

but to me that big red ‘X’ seems more like a roundabout warning to homeless & vagrants not to venture inside because nobody’s going to come looking for you if there’s a property emergency

GFeret
GFeret on July 3, 2014 at 6:33 am

i may’ve made a false alarm before, but driving by the RENA theatre this morning (my preferred name to the LAWNDALE, from personal experience) the type of activity taking place around it now has the makings of a demolition commencing

Zol87
Zol87 on July 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Demolition is starting according to a photo my friend took earlier today. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nvaughn/14392217409/

GFeret
GFeret on July 10, 2014 at 7:07 am

i hate looking at it go down as i went by this a.m.

laoprn
laoprn on July 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

I went by this morning 7/18 and it is still standing. I live in the neighborhood and hate to see it go. They have torn down the church part in front of it but the main entrance and the back part were still standing as of this morning at 630 AM. Disgusting to me that they get rid of all the architectural details and history of the building.

GFeret
GFeret on July 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

they punched just one hole in a theatre wall that i could see, one gets the impression they’re hesitating now

R8teco
R8teco on July 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

I talked to one of the guys with the demolition company last week. Their main problem is the basement. The structure right next to what is left, has a basement of 10 feet high! So, he told me that they need to bring more wood to cover/fill it… Also, he said that they are expecting another wrecking machine. Have not been easy to demolish it at once.

bpmckenna
bpmckenna on July 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Why (aside from neglect perhaps?) is this theater being demolished?

GFeret
GFeret on July 28, 2014 at 7:12 am

watching more demolitiom first they wiped away the part of the Lawndale/Reno building that was integral storefronts w/ offices apartments upstair, which was finished before they started on any part of the theatre per se. but now with that they have and are demolishing the first flr theatre lobby area. it looks like the huge auditorium with its watertank tower waits to be the last to go.

GFeret
GFeret on August 15, 2014 at 8:15 am

the wrecking ball’s made headway into the theatre auditorium the last day or two. it’s horrible and heartbreaking to look at even in passing. there’s a positively huge old steel beam exposed that no doubt was integral to balcony support

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