Paulina Theater

1339 N. Paulina Street,
Chicago, IL 60622

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Paulina Theater

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This Wicker Park neighborhood theater, which opened in 1913, could seat over 800 in its auditorium. The Paulina Theatre was located on N. Paulina Street, off the then-and-now thriving N, Milwaukee Avenue commercial corridor, next to the former flagship location of the Wieboldt’s department store chain (converted into office and retail space several years ago).

The Paulina Theater was built for the Gumbiner Brothers circuit. On October 2, 1948 it suffered damage by a fire which destroyed the stage and damaged the auditorium. Repairs were carried out and it had reopened by August 1949. It contained a 16-rank Wurlitzer organ that was removed prior to the theater’s closing in June 1951, and, partially rebuilt, combined with parts of a Kimball organ from Philadelphia’s Uptown Theatre, had seen frequent use at the Gateway Theatre in the Jefferson Park neighborhood, when it was until recently home to the Silent Film Society of Chicago.

The theater was demolished years ago, after having been converted into a bowling alley after its movie days ended, and its site is now the parking lot of a Jewel Food store.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Broan
Broan on June 10, 2006 at 4:46 am

This was another very early Rapp & Rapp house.

PaulWolter
PaulWolter on April 14, 2007 at 6:58 pm

The Chicago Historical Society database of Chicago building permits list a permit issued December 7, 1912 to owner Investors Theatre Co. and architects C.W. & G.L. Rapp

Chrisk36
Chrisk36 on May 1, 2007 at 11:49 am

It was a bowling alley for a while. Evergreen Bowl. I lived on Julian St. nearby from 41 to 62. It was our family night theatre growing up and have a lot of fond memories of the theatre and the neighborhood.

noodles
noodles on May 3, 2007 at 8:12 am

Does anyone out there have any photos of this theater? I currently live on Paulina and have long wondered what stood in the place of the awful stripmall there now. It would be greatly appreciated if someone can either post a photo or direct me where there might be one. Thannks!

Khnemu
Khnemu on February 24, 2018 at 9:57 am

According to an article in the October 2, 1948 Boxoffice a fire caused over $10,000 in damage to the Paulina Theater, destroying the stage and part of the auditorium.

The theater was reopened by August of 1949, as a short blurb in the Chicago Tribune notes the theater was robbed of $150 in ice cream and candy. An article in the March 1952 Variety mentions that the Paulina had been closed since June of 1951.

The Paulina had been converted into the Evergreen Bowl by the mid-50s, and was in operation into the 80s.

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