Plaza Theatre

308 W. North Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60610

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Plaza Theater 308 W North Avenue

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Plaza was one of the early theaters of the Jones, Linick & Schaefer circuit (which included such houses as the Orpheum, Bijou Dream, Rialto and Randolph Theatres), and originally opened in 1909. The Plaza, located on North Avenue near Orleans Street, in the Lincoln Park neighbhorhood, could seat close to 1200.

During the 40s and into the 50s, the Plaza was part of the Essaness circuit. During the 50s and 60s the theater was known as the New Plaza and later, the Plaza Art. The theater remained in operation at least through the 60s before closing, showing soft-core adult films in its later years.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

DavidZornig on January 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for clarifying it had closed by `74 KenMc. I knew I hadn’t missed theatre that obvious.

A lot of the Wells Street clubs & shops had promotional hawkers out front on a regular basis back then.
I could see how the Plaza Playmates might have worked double or even triple duty as advertising for the Plaza. Dancing as well as popcorn sales, etc. I haven’t reached my friend who grew up a block from there just yet. I’ll post back his recollections, and/or steer him to CT.

KenC on January 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Yes, the Plaza Playmates were more like Playboy bunnies -without the bunny ears and tail- than real strippers. Good looking, although the one who sold me the popcorn had lots of makeup and bright red lipstick. The Plaza must have had huge AC and heating bills; the place was that big. That was probably a factor in its closing-and, of course, the competition.

DavidZornig on January 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I just remembered that Ogden Ave. actually used to “start” back then at North Ave. Not too far West of this locale. At approximately Larrabie St.
Where the giant lot for Father & Son Pizza is.

Ogden then wound S/W starting at Clybourn, then up & over a huge bridge at Division & Halsted. A bridge that became badly deteriorated over time. Concrete falling, etc.
That portion of Ogden Ave. was closed off to traffic for many years before ultimately being torn down in 1991. Remnants of that bridge can be seen across the river from the S/W corner of Division & Halsted. Behind the towing outfit.

Several chase seens were filmed on that bridge before it’s demise.
I believe for either Steve McQueen’s “The Hunter”, Chuck Norris' “Code Of Silence” or both.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I think Ogden at one time ran past North all the way to Clark St. Someone once told me that you can spot the former path pretty easily by looking at an aerial photograph.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Sure enough, if you look at Google Maps you can see where it ran up to Armitage. I wonder when and why they decided to build the neighborhood over it.

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on January 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Ogden north of North Avenue was removed in 1967 as part of an urban renewal project for Lincoln Park.
A very detailed description of Ogden can be read on the awesome site Forgotten Chicago:

CompassRose on February 20, 2011 at 9:08 am

Exterior of Plaza on North Avenue, Chicago, circa 1964: Plaza.

KenC on February 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the pic, Compass. I remember the huge vertical sign ;had forgotten what the marquee was like. What was playing that day- HOLLYWOOD NUDIST REPORT and ADOLESCENT SHAME?? And the sidewalk sign by the curb states FREE PARKING…? Just want to make one correction- if the pic is from 1964, the Plaza was not close to demolition. I have the Sun Times movie listings from May 8, 1968- the Plaza was still open, showing AGONY OF LOVE plus THE NAKED CAPER.It may have been in operation til 1969 or even to 1970. Anyway, thanks again for posting.

KenC on February 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

Just noticed- on May 8, 1968, the nearby TOWN theatre on Armitage had ON STAGE IN PERSON TURA SATANA (star of Faster Pussycat). I heard Tura passed away recently. Met her at the Music Box not long ago….. RIP.

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