Hinsdale Theater

29 E. 1st Street,
Hinsdale, IL 60521

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Hinsdale Theater

The Hinsdale Theater was built in 1925 by local architect William G. Barfield. Complete with ornate plasterwork and a dome in the auditorium, the Hinsdale Theater was remodeled in the 1930’s and again around 1961 when it went over to live theatre use for a couple of years, known as the Hinsdale Summer Theatre. A rather garish marquee (since taken down) was added at this time. A Kimball 3 manual, 28 ranks theatre organ was installed. The console came from the Senate Theatre on Chicago’s west side, and the pipes came from the Trianon Ballroom Chicago and the Tivoli Theatre, Cottage Grove.

The Hinsdale Theater closed in the late-1970’s, reopened in 1983 under the management of Classic Cinemas until 1990. It re-opened and then closed again in 1996, and was used sporadically until 1999.

In 2002, the Hinsdale Theater was leased by the Village Theatres chain, screening first-run films, but as of August 31, 2003, the theater was closed yet again.

Plans to restore the Hinsdale Theater to its 1930’s appearance by the Hinsdale Theater Foundation came to a halt due to the theater’s current owner’s lack of cooperation with the group on a number of issues. In 2004, the Hinsdale Theatre Foundation gave up on attempting to reopen the theater and it was sold to a developer who converted it into mixed retail and office space, though historic elements of the Hinsdale Theater were preserved. In 2012, it was converted into a Mexican restaurant.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Love the 1983 marquee shot,Great.great actor.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

If it was converted to retail, then I assume the auditorium was gutted.

Broan
Broan on January 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm

As I said, much of the plasterwork is intact. They put walls and floors in but kept as much as possible. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ctid808/

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 31, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Looks like they split the auditorium into two floors for two tenants, and included the lobby space in the lower one. Was that how it happened Brian?

Broan
Broan on February 1, 2011 at 4:24 am

Sort of. The lobby end seems to have been destroyed for the store that’s now there, and the stage end is separated and operates as a bar & restaurant.

Broan
Broan on February 9, 2011 at 2:49 am

it was parted out

Broan
Broan on February 9, 2011 at 3:17 am

I understand the console went to australia, a number of the pipes went to a project in england, and others remain in storage

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

The former theater will now house a Mexican restaurant called Cine. View article.

madorganplayer
madorganplayer on April 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Some sets of pipes went onto the Pipes in the Peaks Compton in Derbyshire England

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 16, 2019 at 1:39 am

Circa 1961 photo as Hinsdale Summer Theatre added credit Tim Crowe. The marquee was modified with that name for stage productions. This from the below 2009 Tribune article by Vikki Ortiz Healy confirms it was used for such in the early `60s, and should be added to the Overview.

“The theater, used for both cinema and stage productions, at the time was one of the only independently owned and operated theaters in the Chicago area, Glass said. This appealed to Hollywood stars looking to make extra cash by acting in summer stock productions.

Sidney Blackmur, a well-known actor, produced the Hinsdale Theater’s summer plays, calling on big names including Charlton Heston, Margaret O'Brien and Robert Q. Lewis to star in his shows, said George Avgeris, Charles' son.

“Hinsdale was a good community to do (the summer stock productions) in because there were a lot of artistic people and it was a relatively well-to-do community,” Glass said.

Opening night parties for the plays became must-be-seen-at black-tie events. Meanwhile, theater apprentices — drama students from the Goodman Theater and other Chicago acting schools — threw raucous parties for the college-age crowd in houses rented near the theater in Hinsdale, George Avgeris said.

In 1962, Blackmur stopped producing the summer plays and the Avgerises turned it over to a local theater group, which lasted just two years."

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2009-12-11-0912090303-story.html

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