Edens I & II Theaters
320 Skokie Boulevard,
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This futuristic-looking classic 1960’s-era movie house was a long-time landmark in suburban Northbrook, visible along the Edens Expressway (for which the theatre was named) and Lake-Cook Road, both of which ran past the Edens Theatre. It was designed by the Chicago-based firm of Perkins and Will.
Built in 1963, and opening on March 8, 1963 with Marcello Mastroianni in “Divorce Italian Style”, the large Edens Theatre was inside a traditional movie theatre, with a huge screen, complete with red curtains and a small stage area. The original color scheme was gold and off-white, with teak panelling.
However, the Edens Theatre exterior was its real stunner, looking like something out of a 1950’s sci-fi movie. It was called the largest “hyperbolic paraboloid” building ever constructed when it opened. The theatre’s concrete roof curved sharply upwards on either end, rising dramatically skyward at each point. Its walls, of corrugated concrete, were broken up by long, undulating swaths of glass, along the entrance areas. The main lobby, which was sunken and reached by sets of stairs, featured then ultra-modern “living room” furniture and artwork.
On November 14, 1969, a slightly smaller (and far more ordinary-looking) second auditorium was built and opened adjacent to the original theatre. The theater was renamed the Edens I & II.
The once enormously popular Edens I & II Theaters was shuttered by its last operator, Cineplex Odeon, in 1994, stating that the cost of refurbishing the aging twin was too prohibitive. The last two films on its marquee were “Time Cop” and “Milk Money”.
It was quickly snatched up by a developer, along with a nearby bowling alley and shops, and all were razed by the end of 1994. The Village Square of Northbrook shopping center now sits on the site of the Edens I & II Theaters.
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