Julian Theater

918 W. Belmont Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60657

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The Julian Theater opened on May 15, 1909, in the Lakeview neighborhood, not far from the Belmont Avenue El station, and sat 799. Originally, it featured vaudeville and other live stage entertainment during its early years, in addition to motion pictures.

During the 1930’s, 1940’s and into the 1950’s, the theater was part of the Essaness chain. The Julian also screened Scandanavian-language films in the 1930’s and into the 1940’s. The theater operated at least through the 1950’s.

The former Julian Theater, which had most recently housed a church, was demolished in spring of 2005.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Broan
Broan on March 28, 2005 at 7:33 pm

In the last few days, the Julian has been in the demolition process. The church has been gone for some time. It appeared to be a rather simple interior, with some plaster ‘frames’ on the walls, and had a small balcony. I have some photos.

Broan
Broan on March 28, 2005 at 10:57 pm

The Julian was one of a handful of early theaters built by James Costen, including the James Costen on E 61st, the New Western, and he also acquired the Ellis (Shakespeare)

bellita
bellita on April 4, 2005 at 11:23 am

Can you post a link to your photos? We climbed around in the rubble on Sunday, but there wasn’t much to see. Apparently drywall had been put up over the original walls, which were painted green and had some nice mouldings and basketweave circles on them (For lights?) There also was some red hammered tin wall decoration exposed (like that found on the ceilings in many Chicago bldgs) and a few random seat cushions strewn about. We also found some chunks of scrollwork (part of the old facade?), it seemed at one point it had been painted baby blue. Would love to see your pics.

Broan
Broan on April 4, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Sure, i’ll do that as soon as I get home. i’d appreciate it if you emailed me (click on my name) because any link I post will expire. I think the theatre had a tin ceiling as well, from what I was seeing in the rubble. When I was there, those tin wainscots were covered partially by some cheap pine. It’s really too bad it was torn down, it looked like it would’ve made a nice replacement for the Bottom Lounge, although there’s no telling what kind of shape it was in.

Broan
Broan on October 16, 2006 at 9:04 pm

It opened in 1914.

Broan
Broan on December 3, 2006 at 7:42 pm

Here are my photos of this theater.

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on February 7, 2007 at 2:24 pm

News item concerning the Julian: Chicago American, Thursday, September 5, 1940, p. 21, c. 6:

JULIAN REOPENS SEPT. 14

Chicago’s home of Scandinavian talking pictures, the Julian Theater, 918 Belmont av., which has been closed for several months because the war in Europe caused almost complete cancellation of films, has succeeded in obtaining a new Adolf Jahr feature which might be the last to be seen on the screen of the North Side cinema until the events overseas are cleared. The latest importation, “Only a Trumpeter,” will reopoen the Julian on Saturday, September 14.

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