Park Theatre

5962 W. Lake Street,
Chicago, IL 60644

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dsadowski on December 19, 2016 at 6:43 am

My best guess on when the Park closed would be sometime between 1952 and 1954. In other words, there are streetcar pictures dated 1952 that show the theater as being open, but by the time that the last streetcar ran in May 1954, it had already been closed.

dsadowski on November 10, 2015 at 6:54 am

Streetcar pictures taken around 1954 clearly show the theater as closed. Trolley service on Lake ended on May 30,1954.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

The January 11, 1913, issue of Construction News said that the old building at 5960-62 W. Lake Street in Chicago was being demolished to make way for a moving picture theater, 45x126 feet, and seating 586. The owners of the new theater were H.T. and G. Mulligan, and the architect was William C. Miller.

Trolleyguy on April 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

Actually, West Town streetcars crossed Austin Boulevard at Lake Street on March 30, 1947, using temporary rails. This was due to the abandonment of West Town streetcar service and the only way the cars could reach the Suburban carbarn in North Riverside was over the tracks of the Chicago Transit Authority’s carlines.

rso1000 on April 2, 2012 at 11:42 pm

The Park is now the site of a Church’s Chicken.

Streetcar 103 is a West Towns Streetcar. Those streetcars “ never ” crossed Austin Ave. The line ended on the WEST side of Austin.

The address and location is correct. The photo was taken from the west side of Austin and is looking east / north east.

ktmcging on January 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm

To btkrefft. Thanks very much. The Park Theatre on Lake Street has been a legend in our family since the early sixties when my father would tell us that there used to be a theater in what was then an empty lot and that he used to take us to movies there when we were very young. Happy New Year.

ktmcging on November 29, 2011 at 2:50 am

To btkrefft. Your July 15, 2005 comment has an inoperative link. Can you please restore? Would love to see the picture. Thanks.

SBGreig on June 24, 2011 at 12:28 am

That is indeed Lake and Austin. Before 1962 the Elevated descended to grade level just west of Laramie; the streetcar line crossed it at Pine Street and ran on the north side of the C&NW tracks to Austin. Note the waiting West Towns bus in the background, on the Oak Park side.

Car 78 was renumbered from 1781 to free up the number for a new order of buses in the early 1950s. It was scrapped within a year of this picture being taken.

Trolleyguy on December 2, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Well, that map is completely in error. Laramie Avenue is 5200 West, and Austin Blvd is 6000 West. Therefore, 5962 would be at Austin, not Laramie. Check a street guide if you have any questions about this.

View link

Trust me, I lived in the area for over 40 years.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Take a look at the Google map link embedded in the heading at top. It places this street address right under the Laramie El station. I think the Laramie El station location was the same in ‘53 as it is today. You can see where the train stops running over the street a little ways to the west of where Google marks the address.

Trolleyguy on December 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

That picture from kenmc was taken at Lake and Austin, the end of the Lake streetcar line. That streetcar would be abandoned the following year. And that is the Park theater that I went to in my youth. So that 1953 picture is accurate for this particular theater.

The Lake Street L (Green Line currently) runs one block to the south on the same embankment that also carries Metra and Union Pacific trains. The L tracks move over from Lake street to the embankment at Laramie. Prior to this, the L trains descended a long ramp at Laramie to operate at street level to Harlem Ave in Forest Park.

Hope this helps.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on December 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I beg to differ. You can see the streetcar has “LAKE” on it’s slot. Also, although I must admit it’s been a long time since I’ve taken an el ride on the green line, but I believe the overhead tracks comes to an end at some point and merges onto tracks near the Metra tracks. I don’t know what you call these tracks but they’re the kind that has stones below the tracks. Hopefully, a CTA expert can write a comment about this.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Wrong place. If this were at Lake & Laramie we would see the El overhead in your photo.

kencmcintyre on April 25, 2009 at 9:08 pm

There are three Parks in Chicago. Let me know if I need to put this 1953 photo on another page. Thanks.

PGlenat on July 15, 2005 at 1:12 pm

I really had to squint to read it, but the vertical does say Park Theatre, rather than Publix.

Trolleyguy on April 19, 2004 at 6:23 pm

I remember going to Saturday matinees at the Park in the early 50’s.

For a dime, you got 10 cartoons, newsreel, serial chapter, and a feature. Needless to say, the cartoon-a-thons on TV effectively killed this business.

John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” enjoyed a several months run in first release here, due to the heavy Irish immigrant presence in the neighborhood.

As an aside, the wading pool in Austin Park across the street, was known as the “Mud Hole”, because that’s what it was before WWII.