Lawndale Theatre

4015 W. Roosevelt Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 2:51 am

This opened on October 19th, 1927. I uploaded its grand opening ad in the photo section.

davidplomin on May 29, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Very sad. I used to drive down Roosevelt Road up until a year or so ago. Took pictures of this block. It could have been renovated and reused, as well as the storefronts and apts adjoining it. Didn’t the alderman care? Look at the neighborhood! What does he actually do to earn his salary? Seriously. I’d like to know, cause driving by, I still see plenty of empty lots and boarded up buildings.

GFeret on December 18, 2014 at 10:03 am

just gone are the very last traces of the gold ol' RENA theatre with the demolition finishing up on the southern auditorium wall as I saw yesterday

R8teco on September 5, 2014 at 4:59 am

IT is not 100% down yet! A very long demolition…

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

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.

bpmckenna on July 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm

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

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.

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

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 on July 10, 2014 at 7:07 am

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

Zol87 on July 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Demolition is starting according to a photo my friend took earlier today.

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

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 on April 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

the damage i’d mentioned has thankfully been now boarded-up

notice the rena theatre—as deteriorated as it is—still retains it’s original flagpole atop, a tall one. i don’t think others like it can say that

GFeret on March 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

passing RENA by earlier today i notice more than one boarded-up 1st floor window and door busted wide open

RickB on January 17, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Shots of five endangered Chicago palaces—including this one—and a Roger Ebert essay. Chicago Magazine

theatre123 on June 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

It has a facebook page….Lawndale Theatre Chicago Il

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on July 19, 2011 at 9:57 am

Recently I photographed the interior of the Lawnsdale.
Here is a blog post about it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Great pictures,All.

KenC on June 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm

In “IMAGES of AMERICA- CHICAGO’S JEWISH WEST SIDE” by Irving Cutler, there is a great pic of the Rena- marquee and vertical sign- on page 88.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 30, 2010 at 11:38 am

Probably just more sheep in the real estate boom.

GFeret on November 10, 2009 at 8:49 am

My RENA passby last week – not only no (restorative) activity there, it appears to be getting even worse shape. I predict no real hope, demolition inevitable, steal your last glimpses while you can there on Roosevelt.

scapone on June 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I drove by and the stained glass is partially broken, it appears as if someone threw a rock at it. I believe just east of the theater was there parking lot? It is covered by grass today.

GFeret on May 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

A Feb. post above claims LAWNDALE/RENO renovation stalled, and having driven past there last week yes—unfortunately no (outwardly) visible progress at all.