Kimbark Theatre

6240 S. Kimbark Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60637

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The Kimbark, located in the South Side neighborhood of Woodlawn, on Kimbark Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Streets, opened in 1913 and sat just under 700.

The theater closed sometime during the 60s, and was later used as a church. The building has sat vacant for many years.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Broan
Broan on October 6, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Are we sure it was demolished? Aerial photos sure look like it’s still standing. I’m not sure this link will work, but it’s worth a shot. Microsoft Live Photo

Broan
Broan on October 17, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Actually, it IS still standing. This is strange, because the property seemingly received a demolition permit in July 2006 and a permit to build a 4 ½ story building on the site. But I drove by today and there it was. So it is still standing, who knows for how long.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 28, 2008 at 9:55 am

In Brian’s Oct 6, 2007 post, the roof looks like it might not be in the greatest of shape.

Broan
Broan on January 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm

No, it doesn’t. It’s a neat facade though, and a very odd location – you rarely see a theater of this size that’s not on a major commercial street. I can only think of a couple other theaters that are in similar locations.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I agree. I’ve always liked the facade. The location is also unusual, at least for Chicago.

WayOutWardell
WayOutWardell on April 1, 2008 at 9:25 pm

It’s still there as of this writing, but the winter was pretty rough on the south wall. There are only a few building left in Woodlawn that give any indication that 63rd Street was once a bright-light district; it would be a shame to lose it.

WayOutWardell
WayOutWardell on September 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Update: the deteriorating south wall of the building has been repaired and tuckpointed somewhat. Signs of pending reuse, perhaps?

popcorngirl
popcorngirl on December 3, 2008 at 9:42 am

I was born in the Woodlawn neighborhood in 1940. When we were kids our mother would give us a quarter to go to the Kimbark theater. It cost 20 cents admission and that would leave us a nickel for candy. The usual Saturday morning movie was a western and a few cartoons. As a teenager from 1953 to 1955 I worked at the Kimbark in the concession stand selling popcorn and candy. The Kimbark and the Lex were both owned by a Jewish couple who lived in the South Shore neighborhood. (Unfortunately I don’t remember their name) The wife mainly managed the Lex and hired a manager for the Kimbark. When they were shorthanded they sometimes had me work at the Lex. Around 1956 there was an influx of Puerto Rican immigrants into the area which accounts for the Spanish speaking movies.

KenC
KenC on January 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Thanks for your post, popcorn girl. The Jewish couple you mentioned-by any chance was their last name Fisher? (Fischer)? Did they have a son? At any rate, in the early to mid 60s I passed by the Lex on foot and by CTA(the Jackson Park ‘B’ train). My memories are few- I think the boxoffice of the Lex faced West on a slight angle and was connected to the front doors. Am I correct? Since you mentioned working at the Lex at times, could you go to the Lex page and share some of your memories of the theatre…the display ads,the auditorium, the lobby-whatever comes to mind. Any and all information would be greatly appreciated! THANKS. ~Ken

WayOutWardell
WayOutWardell on July 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm

As of 7/7/10, there is a for-rent sign on the exterior.

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