3424 Main Street,
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The old Garden was built in 1918 as a silent movie house and showed films for eight decades. But as the neighborhood began to change, the theater’s fortunes grew dim. After years of struggling, the Garden Theatre finally closed. The theater was sold, resold and finally auctioned off in 2000 to its current owners.
One of the owners, Pete Torres, is from East Chicago and had plans to twin the theater and show English and Spanish-language films. Ultimately, though, the cost of repairs would have reached $500,000, and, without support from the city or other sources, the project became unfeasible.
The building languished into 2001 and in January it was declared structurally unsafe by the East Chicago Board of Public Works. Sadly, the city never declared the building a landmark and it was demolished.
With the destruction of the Garden Theatre, the last movie palace in the East Chicago area has faded into the past.
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