Tiffin Theatre

4045 W. North Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60639

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LouRugani on October 28, 2015 at 9:09 pm

A CONSTRUCTION NEWS article from July, 1912 credited A. Proskauer as an architect.

Scrabble on September 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Broan, thank you. Great photo of Tiffin from 1922. I wasn’t born until twenty some years later but I always loved going to the Tiffin. Thanks again!

ChicagoDj on September 21, 2015 at 8:50 pm

No one mentioned Sonny and Cher being at the Tiffin! I was born in that Neighborhood in the 60’s and moved away in 1980. I’ve been to every place, store and on every street mentioned in these comments. Went to school at St Philomena and Nobel. Returned many times since then but I remember the Tiffin as a kid and young adult! Saw many, many movies there! Cheese popcorn was the best ever! Sorry to say I was in a fight at the Tiffin once and still have a scar on my lip from that. Wasn’t really a fight but I got punched in the mouth for making too much noise with my friends and talked back to the guy that told us to shut up! I saw stars! LOL! Last movie I saw there was Stayin Alive with John Travolta. Had to be 1983 or 1984. The neighborhood was really changing FAST at that point for the worse. Getting scary. Guys driving around with pitch forks sticking out their car windows. Gang activity big time! I knew every store up and down North Ave, Kullwins wasn’t mentioned at North and Trip! I worked there for a summer stocking the cooler for old man Kulwinn when I was 12. He was never without a HUGE cigar. His daughters took it over after he passed. They were twins. Don’t remember their names but we used to play Evel Kenevel pinball there for hours and they would kick us out at dark. Lots of people singing at the bar there. Elvis impersonators all over. Even when Elvis was still alive! Guy named Franky always had his guitar and played there. Even famous “EI” Rick Saucedo used to be walking up and down North ave all the time and be in Kullwins. I have heard Franky passed on may he RIP. He could play any instrument, self taught. Guy people called Lurch used to play the song “Don’t it make your brown eyes blue” by Crystal Gale 10 times in row on the Juke Box! He used to have his head down on the bar! We loved pinball so we put up with Crystal. I think of Lurch every time I hear that song and am waiting for it to play 9 MORE TIMES! LOL! Lurch was about 7 feet tall. Used to feel real sorry for that guy. Some babe ruined his life! Beer City. Norm and his wife. Beer City well, it was a place to make some fast cash betting on pool with the Yugo’s as we used to say. One of my best friends used to be a shark and would pretend he did not know how to play! You guys get that if you’re from Chicago! My friend.. May he RIP.. I never beat him a game once, if he was given a chance to shoot once that was it he would clear the table. I am a good pool player! I never liked to bet though because I seemed to be low on ca$h a lot back then! hmmm LOL! Raymond’s cheeseburger place. Pioneer Rest. with the juke boxes in the booths. Vito’s Pizza, yes our friend worked there too and we got free pizzas all the time! It was the best Pizza it that area Hands Down! Guys was a rival and we could not and should not order from there if you get my meaning.. Vito’s was better anyway! I cruised everywhere around there you could humanly cruise then off to the Lake to Montrose pier with car loads of friends! Those were the days my friends! I used to hang out at all different points in that neighborhood and could go on and on forever. Fact is I miss it very much. But I know along with the Tiffin, it’s gone for good and I’m glad I am 2000 miles away from it now. I must also ad here that it was NEVER Greenbaum Park or Wabansia Park during my run. It was ONLY Schwinn Park. The guys that used to hang out there “Knew all of them” would correct anyone that said otherwise! LOL! I played many baseball games in Schwinn Park, grew up on those swings and played in the sprinklers. We were so lucky to have those sprinklers. Not many parks had them. Fact is many brand new bikes in the neighborhood came directly off of the train tracks somehow. There were many bikes in basements in that neighborhood that never saw daylight. LOL! Wow it is all coming back to me now.. Miss the Tiffin now and always. It’s only in my memory now……… Dj

kenchm on March 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Loved the tiffin saw the dc5 there grew up at kedvale and thomas nobel class of 66

GFeret on December 30, 2014 at 7:49 am

on Kildare (by Wabansia) there’s Greenebaum Park and I don’t know of any chicago park called Wabasia per se. Up to the early ‘80s i’d see the Schwinn bicycle factory bldg—there was a company emblem over the door there—on the west side of Kostner driving by (no reason to regularly drive on residential street Kildare)

ajlego on November 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

The Schwinn factory was in the the 1700 block on Kildare across from Wabansia Park. It wasn’t on Kostner. The Tiffin is where I went to the movies when I was kid. I’ve many happy memories of it and several in the back row.

GFeret on May 20, 2013 at 11:54 am

when they were manufacturing on Kostner Schwinn had their own unique way of forming the head on bicycle frames from one sheet metal piece, avoiding certain welding operations. it had its pros and cons, but looking back on it, mostly cons. its discontinuation maybe the only good thing to come out of closing the kostner plant

Artista on April 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

My apologies If my memory has faded on its exact location. I found out that the address was 1856 N. Kostner Ave. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiski/sets/72157628410700907/detail/ I seem to remember the days in which i played in Greenbaum park, Wabansia and Kildare, and from the park you could view the side of the Schwinn factory and its factory doors with trucks. AS I look at Google maps I see that viewing the park from the sky,,it is shaped somewhat like a 7 which would have taken the park further west past Kildare. Was the park in that pattern back then? I dont remember -LOL.At any rate,,YES it was on Kostner..check out the link to those photographs..

GFeret on April 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

OK. i’m trying to picture it as you say, perhaps they had an employee side door entrance @ kostner. it seems to me both schwinn & zenith plants had direct access to the bloomingdale line freight tracks there. in the mid ‘70s i played in the proverbial garage band (except it was in a basement) at the drummers home on tripp st which’s right there. all a stones throw from the original location of GUY’s pizzeria on armitage, great stuff it was

Artista on April 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

Hi GFeret the Schwinn factory was at Kildare ave. and Wabansia ave. (in-between Kildare and Kostner of course) My oldest brother had his first part time summer job there back in the mid ‘70s

GFeret on April 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

i believe it was spelled LYONS not LIONS btw. i’d bowl there, they had lanes in their lower level, and alternate with Pulaski Bowl a couple blocks east. was the Schwinn bicycle factory on Kostner or Austin? i think they closed mid-‘80s. i maybe confusing Schwinn with the location of the old Zenith factory, or not

Scrabble on January 17, 2013 at 6:36 am

Thanks for sharing. I remember the Lions Ballroom well as my brother had his wedding reception there. Also, we had many hot dogs at Jimmy’s hot dog stand and I can still picture the workers behind the counter. Do you remember “Pickin Chicken” near Grand and North Avenues (every Wednesday they had all you could eat — very good). I graduated from Nobel School at Kamerling and Karlov. My family had to leave the area for safety reasons around 1981.

CraginSpring on January 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

May I add a comment about the Tiffin Theatre and the area surrounding it. I don’t remember the Tiffin but heard many stories about it from my Father who grew up on Spaulding & North ave. His oldest brother use to work at the Tiffin so I was told of many of days my Dad would spend at the Tiffin. I though know the area well. Jimmy’s Hot Dog stand had the roof cave in around 1984 from an explosion from the next door Com Ed building. Jimmy’s was closed for awhile then rebuilt into a brick building. Grand & Kolmar ave use to be the Pepsi General bottler building for many years. They shut down the old building in 1996 and moved to 51st street just east of Ashland Ave. This area really flourished with industry at one time. Schwinn, Helene Curtis, Continental Can etc. Does anybody remember the Lions Ballroom which was on North ave just west of Grand? It was a beautiful building and held many music bands from the Big Band era. It was quite a popular place for dancing and music. It was a shame that it was destroyed and Kentucky Fried Chicken took its place and the fast food restaurant is now gone.

Across Kostner Ave. in the former Jewel Parking lot was a old one door firehouse which is gone also.

Scrabble on August 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

I saw the movie “Born Free” at the Tiffin a few times with my best beau — too bad he married someone else.

matthew1964 on July 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I remember going to this theater to see movies like hang em high ,Clint Eastwood movies ,,at that time you entered the theater anytime during the movie,,,i would go with my dad ,who was a cab driver ,since the theater was air-conditioned ,he would sleep through the movie 3 times i would leave there remembering it by heart,,thanks Matt

bigrinwv on March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I remember living on Kostner Avenue across from Helene Curtis and Zenith. Was at school(Nobel) the morning Helene-Curtis blew up. I was in second grade. I remember going to the movies but don’t know if it was the Tiffin or not although it must have been.

Like Shirlban commented there was a lot of activity around the two factories and when the explosion happened a lot of news crews way up into the early morning hours. I would love to see video of the neighborhood during that time but probably doesn’t exist anymore. Sorry for getting off topic a bit butthe old memories just came rushing back when I read Shirlban’s comment.

Scrabble on March 2, 2012 at 6:09 am

Sorry, there are not any photos of the Tiffin in the Chicago Tribune gallery.

Scrabble on March 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for the nice photo of the Tiffin Theatre, spent many a Friday evening there and I really enjoyed their popcorn.

To enjoy a photo gallery of magnificient theaters, go to: chicagotribune.com/chicagotheaters

bestoftimes on November 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I loved going to movies at the Tiffin in the later 50’s and early 60’s. It was “air cooled”, actually sort of like being in a fridge in the summer. My Mom always made me bring a sweater! It was a HUGE place, especially to a kid. The cartoons and double features were the draw. I always asked for a box of Jujubes as my treat. They were usually hard and took forever to chew, so they lasted the whole show. My mom had the idea that sitting too close to the screen was bad for our eyes, so we often sat in the very back row on the main floor. I now think it was more about her fear of being stuck in such a large place, in case of fire. Sometimes we walked all the way to the theater (we lived near Cicero & North Ave) but more often, my dad would drop us off and pick us up. (Mom didn’t drive!)

I remember an organ playing before the show began.

I also loved going to the nearby pubic library, the Crawford Dept store, the two dime stores (Woolworth’s and Kressge’s), the record store (I still have the 45’s I bought there) and so many other stores. We actually had very little money, so mostly we window-shopped, but we sure had fun.

SusanLocke on September 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Since I lived on Rockwell and North, I mostly attended the Crystal Theatre on North ave. But occasionally like one night when I was about nine my Father came home and took us to the Tiffen show , we were already in bed and we just put clothes on over our pjs… this was a great memory for me because we rarely did this. We got to stay up and see TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. I was told not to say anything to my friends or teachers cause I was alittle sleepy the next day. But I did anyway ha ha ha..I went there when I was in sixth grade with a classmate and we went into the candy shop next door, I had a pineapple float. When we came out we noticed a stray dog, young but not a puppy. He was a Spitz/mix with Border Collie. I did not want to leave him there on the street so I took him home, and after a fight….I got to keep him, and named him Pudgie. He was a great loyal dog. The Tiffen was fancier than the Cyrstal…but nice . I would love to communicate with anyone who lived in the neighborhood, around Humboldt Park,,,near the Tiffen…contact me at or Susan Besaw on FaceBook thanks !!!

LouRugani on August 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

(Community Publications, January 17, 1973)

Tiffin launches 60th anniversary fete

In 1913 when most neighborhood movie houses were simply converted stores with folding chairs to accommodate patrons and the price of admission was five cents, the newly opened 800-seat Tiffin theater on North avenue just east of Karlov, was regarded as one of the finest outlying movie theaters in the entire city. This week, beginning Friday, Jan. 19, the Tiffin theater is celebrating its 60th anniversary and is turning the clock back many, many years by offering moviegoers a rare bargain, an admission price of just 60 cents for a double feature. Two excellent films, “Butterflies are Free” and “The Burglar,” will be shown during the anniversary week beginning Friday and continuing through Thursday, Jan. 25. Partners in the building of the Tiffin theater 60 years ago were William J. Clark, realtor and attorney; George Kappus, a Northwest Side druggist and Vincent T. Lynch, who served as manager of the theater. Right from the start business boomed and movie goers flocked by the hundreds to the “showplace of the Northwest Side.” It was soon apparent that the building was too small to adequately serve the growing numbers of movie fans, so owners Clark, Kappus and Lynch made plans for a bigger theater. A new partner, Joseph joined the group and they acquired property at the corner of North Karlov, just west of the original theater building. Taking their cue from the grandiose movie palaces then being constructed in the Loop, the partners built the present Tiffin theater with seating for more than 2,200 patrons. It was a beautiful building, tastefully decorated and furnished and from the day it was opened in 1923, business flourished. This was in the heyday of the movie industry. Radio was in its infancy and television was yet far in the future. No one had heard of x-rated movies and all theaters offered film fare for the entire family. Looking back over the years, owner Jack Clark, son of William J., one of the original partners in the enterprise, said “The Tiffin, since the day it opened in 1913 has continued to operate through wars, the big depression, recessions, inflation, the advent of radio and television and lastly, x-rated movies and has survived it all. The reason the Tiffin survived when many others went down the drain has been our policy of offering the best in family movie entertainment at the lowest possible prices. Also, we never gave in to the current fad of showing pornographic, x-rated movies. Our patrons feel they can come to the Tiffin and not be offended by the movies on our screen.” Asked why the preponderance of films made in the past few years have been x-rated movies, Clark, who has served as president of the Motion Picture Theater Owners association of Illinois in the entire city, said “If people said the lives of the saints should be filmed, that’s what the movie producers would film – if that’s where the money was.” Since that isn’t likely, that part of the movie-going public with no desire to see pornographic films will continue to attend the Tiffin theater where Clark is doing his best to maintain the 60-year-old policy of showing the best available movie films suited to family entertainment.

Dan Matson
Dan Matson on August 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Yes I was there, I must have been about 10. My sister was a rabid fan of the Dave Clark Five. They showed up about Half way through the movie. They were trotted out like prized cattle on stage by a WLS Radio Disc Jockey Named Clark Weber. They didn’t preform, they just stood there while the audience threw candy at them. As soon as they left my sister made me run up on stage and try to get some candy they may have stepped on. Do know how hard it is to get a smashed Spearmint leaf off a stage floor?

jdenar on June 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Does anybody remember the Dave clark Five making an appearence at there movie?

bazookadave on January 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

The jobs were shipped overseas by the rich…yet Americans continue to vote them into office, mainly because they promise to hate the gays and save the guns and impose theocracy.