Howard Theatre

1621 W. Howard Street,
Chicago, IL 60626

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1962 photo credit J.J. Sedelmaier.

The Howard Theatre opened in 1917, designed by Henry L. Newhouse, whose other Chicago theatres included the Metropolitan Theatre and Atlantic Theatre.

It was acquired by the Balaban & Katz chain not long after it had opened. Notable was its ornate Neo-Classical style facade, complete with sculpted masks of comedy and tragedy, and the theatre’s name inscribed above the arch-shaped window over the marquee.

The Howard Theatre continued to show first run films until it was shuttered around Thanksgiving 1975. In 1999, the long-vacant Howard Theatre’s auditorium was razed but its beautiful facade and outer lobby were saved and integrated into the apartments and retail structure which was built on the site of the Howard Theatre.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

CompassRose on February 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

View of the Howard from 1955: Howard 1955

RickB on November 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

From the Chicago Tribune of April 27, 1978, a story on the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to renovate the theater building.

If you didn’t know that the Tribune had its archives online like that, neither did I until a few days ago. Who knows what treasures lie within?

RickB on November 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm

A little more poking around on the archives site reveals on the FAQ page that it will only be free while it is in beta status, so visit while you can.

RickB on November 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm

The Howard disappears from the Tribune’s listings around Thanksgiving of 1975, with the last features that I found being a four-walled Sunn Classic double bill of The Outer Space Connection and Toklat. From the advertising style it looks like this was a Brotman & Sherman house in its later years, although the ads for the last couple weeks are generic listings separated from the Brotman & Sherman group.

DavidZornig on May 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Howard blade sign photo added. Howard Terminal Yard, September 14, 1972, Photo credit Marty Bernard

DavidZornig on October 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Theater spelling should be changed to “Theatre” at the page top. It appears that way in the arch stonework and on the marquee.

Mid `70’s photo added, photo credit Saul Smaizys.

DavidZornig on January 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I added a few recent pics of the West elevation. Sadly all the old building perimeter light sockets have had blank plates installed over the boxes.

DavidZornig on June 22, 2017 at 9:22 am

1970’s photo via Flickr, photo credit Mark Susina.

DavidZornig on March 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm

Mid `40s Flickr photo. Howard theatre in the background.

DavidZornig on June 4, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Incredible December 1929 photo added, with illuminated domes.

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