DuPage Theater meets end

posted by bblaus317 on May 11, 2007 at 6:40 am

LOMBARD, IL — Despite a heroic batttle fought by the Friends of the DuPage Theater, two courts refused to extend a restraining order that prevented further demolition of the theater. The auditorium was “deconstructed” earlier to facilitate a developer’s plan for the rest of the theater. The Village of Lombard had a demolition crew waiting for the 3:00 deadline to come. They wasted no time. The marquee succumbed this afternoon.

For more, check out the Chicago Tribune.

A renowned developer had $40 million plans to redevelop the site which was to include portions of the 1928 vintage building. It is truly a sad day for Lombard.

Theaters in this post

Comments (37)

moody1785 on May 11, 2007 at 9:00 am

A very sad day. What a disgrace.

LombardPride on May 11, 2007 at 1:10 pm

The only disgrace is what you, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Deb Dynako, Barb Alvardo and friends have done to the residents of Lombard.

The trickery, lies and hundreds of thousands of dollars you have wasted will always be your legacy and the legacy of this building.

Remember the “we have the money” statement which was repeated time and time again by Marty Carrol and Virginia Lippig only to be more lies.

This was a victory for what is good and right in Lombard. A victory of good over evil.

The residents only hope is that you, Kevin, Deb, Barb and friends crawl back under the rock from which you came and allow the residents to recover from the wounds you have created over this building.

Progress will now be made to revitalize our downtown now that the stranglehold that the village has been under for over a decade has been removed.

Lombard Pride…Shining stronger than ever!!!

DuPagefiends on May 11, 2007 at 7:21 pm

There is only one group to blame for this debacle…the friends of the theatre…whose imcompetence and ego’s help demolish the theatre.

rbtbid on May 12, 2007 at 6:09 am

Lombard PRIDE has never shined brighter than at 3:00 on May 10th…the end of the theatre nonsense and the beginning of a new era for downtown Lombard. If only the support that was shown for the demolition that day had been support for it’s restoration years ago then maybe Lombard indeed could have saved this long past its prime cinema treasure.

The once mighty Dupe has been in disrepair for over twenty years and had become an embarrassment to our community. The crumbling terra cotta, the boarded up windows, the fence, the garbage bags blowing in the wind….all for Lombard to see for all these years. The clearing of this site is a welcome addition.

As for poster Krefft’s comments about this theatre being the only redeeming quality of what he calls an otherwise bland downtown, we can only be grateful that with that type of attitude that you continue on the train past Lombard everyday. Our downtown is quite vibrant…and a new energy has indeed come to life despite the now forever extinquished efforts of the Friends of the (demolished) Dupage Theatre. Maybe you can take these Friends with you to the Wheaton Metra stop…where this group can be paraded around as the example of how not to save a cinema treasure.

HowardBHaas on May 12, 2007 at 1:01 pm

It is truly a sorry day in America when people (3 above) are gloating over the destruction of a once beautiful movie palace, one that meant a great deal to many people in the community.

DuPagefiends on May 12, 2007 at 1:07 pm

“Once” it was a great theatre…in 1963 maybe, but since the 1980’s it has been an eyesore. It meant a great deal to about 28 people in the community so get your facts straight.

HowardBHaas on May 12, 2007 at 1:15 pm

your signature of FIENDS tells us all we need to know. Perhaps this weekend you will see the new movie about zombies, 28 Weeks Later, and root for the flesh eating zombies.

Throughtout the nation, many movie palaces that hit their highlight in the 1950’s or 1960’s have been saved, restored, and reopened, as community treasures. This site is for those who respect that history. You are presumably pro-development, presumably seeking something newer, instead- fine. But, there’s no need to gloat on this website over the destruction of a historic building. Surely you must have a community blog where you can do that.

moody1785 on May 12, 2007 at 3:14 pm

3 editorials from the Daily Herald.5/12/07

A gift wasted?
It’s been nearly eight years since Big Idea Productions took a $3.9 million loss to donate the DuPage Theatre, its 2.5-acre site and $100,000 cash to Lombard. In the end, it wasn’t enough to save the building from the wrecking ball. Now Lombard leaders have a big challenge: To ensure something is developed on the property that makes all the wasted time, money and effort worth it.

At last, some closure:

We here in the newsroom often referred to the saga of the DuPage Theatre as “the story that wouldn’t die.” For 12 years, various factions sparred on whether the theater â€" in the end, just its facade â€" should be spared from the wrecking ball. And perhaps it’s only fitting that tearing down a wall took two days this week. As further testimony to what an interminable process this was, a search of our archives showed that Robert Sanchez, who covered Lombard for seven years, wrote more than 100 stories on the DuPage Theatre’s fate.

Theatre memories:

Ah, but there are good stories to be told about the Theatre. Remember when going to the movies was like entering a palace? The elaborate art design on the walls. The smell of hot buttered popcorn always wafted through the aisles. But this wasn’t the only snack to have in your lap while you watched the movie. There were Sno Caps, Mason Dots, Necco wafers, a Chunky, Tootsie Rolls. Enough to get you through the double features. Those were the days in movie houses like the DuPage Theatre. Good memories on a dark day for theater supporters

Scott on May 12, 2007 at 6:25 pm

I’ve never seen so many people with such a hostile attitude toward preservation of a beautiful theatre. I can see being indifferent toward it, but the glee that many poeple of Lombard are expressing over this theatre’s demise is disheartening. This theatre was somehow holding back the progress of downtown Lombard? Right. I wonder which old building is next on the demolition list for these people. I just hope they stay in Lombard and don’t move to my city.

DuPagefiends on May 13, 2007 at 5:12 am

Scott, blame that hostility on the friends of the theatre. They made broken promises that the $$ was there, that support was there, and if you questioned their tactics you were immediately labeled “anti-theatre”. Then they became a little dictator group. It would have been nice if they went away and the theatre stayed, but their failures is why the Dupe is gone.

TheatreNeighbor on May 13, 2007 at 5:58 am


It was people like Ray Mazzolini that fueled the fire in many of us that supported the demolition. He attacked residents that live adjacent to he theatre property on a local blog. He also is suspected to have been part of an effort to ntimidate those same residents by vandalizing their homes. Just the other evening a group of “preservationists” egged the homes of many who opposed the restoration plan because it included 120 condos and many variations to code. Look no further than Ray Mazzolini if you want to an explanation as to why there is gloating by the pro-demolition crowd. What’s sad is that he (Ray) is not smart enough to realize that if not for the taunting and name calling by his group, many of us would have been neutralized. Instead he fueled our efforts to protect our homes from the condo/preservation plan and united us with other members of the community that supported demolition.

Scott, this was not your typical preservationist effort. This group used Al-Quaeda-like tactics to intimidate those opposed to their ideas. They have gotten what they deserve. Ask Jim Fields if you don’t believe me

TheatreNeighbor on May 13, 2007 at 6:01 am

Let me add that there were some good people behind the preservation effort, unfortunately they were unable to squelch the behavior of a few radicals.

rbtbid on May 13, 2007 at 8:12 am

Scott: Did you know the Friends themselves advocated the 2006 demolition of the auditorium? They are the only ones to blame for the demise of this once historic theatre. All that came down this week was the lobby and shoppes….all which has been literally abandoned for nearly 20 years. Community support was there in the beginning but then waned as costs escalated and the building continued to rot…..it was an eyesore and its demolition is a victory for the residents of Lombard.

Scott on May 13, 2007 at 9:53 am

Duped: It doesn’t appear to me that anybody won in this fight. I’m not defending the preservationists; the story behind this theatre is apparently much more complicated than I realize. But in the end, the theatre is gone, people are ticked at each other, and both sides have mud on their face. From where I’m sitting it looked like two angry parents fighting over custody of a child, forgetting about the welfare of the child in the process.

The way this thing played out surprised me. I lived in Lombard from 1983-1985, and wouldn’t have guessed that the community would have become so divided over this theatre.

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 9:55 am


The time for blame is past. The anger you continue to show is wrong. If your homes were egged, please call me about it: 630.792.0256. This is behavior I would never condone or tolerate.

I’m sorry you felt the need to applaud when our beautiful DuPage Theatre came down. I’m sorry you continue to post here. But while I grieve over what has occurred, I stand firm in my conviction that the Theatre’s restoration would have been good for Lombard. And I would fight for her again.

Ray Mazzolini is a very passionate man who loved the theatre. The accusations you make against him are wrong and unfounded.

To compare the Friends of the DuPage Theatre to a terrorist group is not how you “let the healing begin.” Treat others how you hope to be treated.


Deb Dynako, President of the Friends of the DuPage Theatre

rbtbid on May 13, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Really? Can’t wait to read your next round on nonsense in the local paper…the one that broadcast your sorry cause for years on end. You spread lies, mistruths, and more week after week for years. Your group was beyond passionate, you were rude, disrespectful, and outright nasty for your failed crusade. It was your theatre cause or nothing. Lombard has lost what could have been a treasure but even sadder is two new board members got elected on this sorry cause. One can only hope the uncontested one resigns as she brings absolutely nothing to the board….other than a vindictive and spiteful attitude. Lombard loses when people like that get elected.

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm


I’m sorry you feel that way. Both candidates ran on a pro-theatre platform and got elected. And you obviously don’t know Laura Fitzpatrick, who has so many great things to bring to the board. We are lucky to have her.

I’ve never told a “mistruth.” In fact, two of the four demolition trustees lied to us. “If you take down the auditorium, we’ll give you your theatre.” “I had nothing to do with putting the demolition on the agenda.” And there were others.

But again, I will not look back on what happened in the past except to learn from the experience. Lombard will be a much finer place to live once our two new trustees are sworn in on Thursday night.

And thanks for being such a follower of the “Backstage at the DuPage” in the Lombardian. We are proud of that newspaper, its publisher and our contributions.



TheatreNeighbor on May 13, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Call Difino if you talk about the egging incidents. I saw the egg on his house firsthand.

As for Mazolini, he must have you fooled. His behavior on election day was illegal and childish. He has taunted readers on these blogs for years.

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 2:58 pm


I just don’t know why “egging” would be something you would think the Friends would do. I haven’t even heard the term for years. It’s usually something younger folk like to doâ€"along TPing. Really, I could never imagine someone like Ray, grey-hair and all, doing harm to other people’s property.

As for the elections, Ray was a poll watcher who followed the rules of poll watching. Nothing he did was illegal that day.

As for DiFino’s house, he has kids…maybe it was one of his kid’s friends? Just a thought…


rbtbid on May 13, 2007 at 3:55 pm

You really need to do a reality check…but then you have been living in fantasy land for years heading up the group that destroyed the DuPage. You must feel so proud…hold your head up proud. Do you plan to march in black in mourning during the best Lilac Parade in years? Will the Friends really have the audicity to walk down Main Street? Maybe you should march holding up signs telling parade goers how much your group has cost Lombard taxpayers over the years! The celebration at Lilac time this year and for years to come will mean even more now that the theatre is really gone.

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Something you just said “Duped”…“Lombard has lost what could have been a treasure…”

If you really think so then nothing you just posted makes sense.

I don’t really want to spar with you. But yes, we will hold our heads high. Find out from the village how much money we raised and gave them for this project. Then, don’t forget that the demolition trustees rejected 1.3 million in grant money. That’s not a fantasy. I’m a taxpayer in this town and I’m disappointed the way our village functioned with the funds we did receive for the theatre restoration.

It’s easy to turn down money when you didn’t work for it like our organization did. But then again, you obviously weren’t for something unique or uplifting and your current banter on this board doesn’t make you sound very neighborly.

I will enjoy this Lilac Day parade with my family. I’ve been attending this Lombard tradition for 38 years.

And again, signing my name…nothing to be ashamed of.

Deb Dynako

HowardBHaas on May 13, 2007 at 4:28 pm

This website isn’t about parades or flowers!! It is for people who cherish historic theaters. I didn’t get to the Tivoli when it was open, when I visited Chicago, but it was on my list, and if had been restored, nothing would’ve stopped me from visiting your town. And, many other people reading this website would’ve have visited, paid to see a show, had a meal nearby, etc. Now, I won’t ever visit your town, and my guess is that when most of the other readers of this site visit Chicago and the region, visiting Lombard won’t be on their list either!

DuPagefiends on May 13, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Deb Dynako stated “Ray Mazzolini is a very passionate man who loved the theatre. The accusations you make against him are wrong and unfounded.”

UNFOUNDED, we have pages of his post where he called evryony and anyone who was against a taxpayer supported theatre multiple names over years. Is this the type of people you support Deb?

Ray’s agenda was one of politics and anger (Sebby?), he could care less about the theatre. WHat if Sebby turned FOR the theatre, Ray would have turned against the theatre.

TrueClass on May 13, 2007 at 6:09 pm

I agree with Mrs. Dynako. Self proclaimed block trustee Robert probably had his house egged by his own neighbors. I think he deserved what he got. After all it was he who decided to negotiate with the likes of Fitzpatrick and the theatre crowd to speak on our behalf (without our permission) to support the condo plan. As Mr. Fitzpatrick has said on this website, cry me a river. Anyone that would sell out his neighbors is a very bad person.

As for you Debbie, let’s organize another bake sale. Maybe we can save some of the shops facade. Robert and Gary and Phillip might even buy some of them to help your cause. I doubt Robert and Gary will buy any though. Rumor has it they are saving their money for Rogaine and implants. Do all sellouts lose their hair? Does Kevin plan on getting implants along with them?

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Again you are wrong about Ray. You really don’t know him. And from Sebby’s last quote in the paper “What did we really lose, anyway?” is very telling. Ray would never feel that way about our theatre.

The love-loss Ray feels toward the former district 4 trustee is one I share. This theatre should never have come downâ€"people like Howard and Bob Blaus reinforce my belief that it would have made Lombard a destination. I agree with you Howard that this site is for people who love theatres. That includes me. Fiend, you still sound so mad. Why? You won, didn’t you…

TheatreNeighbor on May 13, 2007 at 6:32 pm


With the exception of Brainless Bruce aka True Class, most of the residents living behind the Dup wanted the theatre saved if the development attached to it would have been somewhat within code. Lombard did not need a high density condominium. You should have worked with the crowd that wanted the library there. If you had not been so stubborn you could have joined forces together and had a referendum passed.

DuPagefiends on May 13, 2007 at 6:32 pm

Deb quotes “you won, didn’t you…”

Thats what this is all about to the Friends…who won. The friends would have stopped at nothing to “win.” Maybe if you and Kev would have stepped down and/or put your giant ego’s aside the theatre would still be standing. You sure seem to be spinning a lot of damage control lately, blaming EVERYBODY but your selves.

Sorry to disappoint you Deb, but nobody won except the taxpayers of Lombard who would have funded this debacle.

Mad? Not me, just tired of listening to you and I just can’t wait until we never have to hear from the friends again.

As for Ray, his agenda was Political…100%…you know it and I know it and so does everybody else.

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 6:58 pm


We wanted to work with the residents. Bob Difino and I spent many hours speaking about how to save it. I’ll leave it at that.

The condo density was worked out by village staff with the developer. I’ll leave it at that.

We were not stubborn. We gave up the auditorium as a compromise when asked. It was a heartbreaking decision. I’ll leave it at that.

I don’t think there was anything more the Friends, Kevin or I could have done. Please tell me how stepping aside would have made a difference. If the trustees who voted to demolish the building said “Deb, if you step aside, we’ll save the building,” I probably would have. When they asked us to let go of the auditorium in order to save the building, we did…but that didn’t save her either.

RestorationRita on May 13, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Ms. Dynako,
Looking back, don’t you now feel that spending, by your own admission “many hours” talking with one of the people who clapped and cheered as the theatre came down was the wrong thing to do?

Where were the millions that we heard members of the Friends board were going to get from corporations? Where are the items previously taken out of the theatre, some of which we understand you personally have?

Why did you wait until it was too late to attack the trustees and others that were in favor of demolition?

RestorationRita on May 13, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Ms. Dynako,
Looking back, don’t you now feel that spending, by your own admission “many hours” talking with one of the people who clapped and cheered as the theatre came down was the wrong thing to do?

Where were the millions that we heard members of the Friends board were going to get from corporations? Where are the items previously taken out of the theatre, some of which we understand you personally have?

Why did you wait until it was too late to attack the trustees and others that were in favor of demolition?

DDynako on May 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm


To bring a community together, you have to talk to the “other side.” I’m sad that Bob cheered, but he did.

The millions were pledged by corporations. Had the village moved forward with the redevelopment agreement, we would have real donations.

The items taken from the theatre were kept in a village-owned storage locker. The village board voted to give those items to the Lombard Historical Society and the DuPage Theatre Foundation. I possess none of those items…in fact, those items were put in storage well before I came onto the Friends board. Which items do you understand that I personally have?

I don’t like attacking anyone, really. I tend to believe people when they make promises. But people are only as good as their word, and so we have learned some valuable lessons. Don’t forget that last June, Tross actually reconsidered his vote to demolish as did Soderstrom and O'Brien. We were working with them. And reconsideration did build up some “trust.” It seemed at the time that they wanted to save the theatre. If not, why reverse their initial decision?

GordonMulroney on May 14, 2007 at 7:39 am

I don’t remember anyone cheering at the demolition with the exception of a handful standing where the old bank was. I was on the south parcel with many of the trustees, Charlotte residents and some business owners. I can say with certainty that everyone was respectful of the situation.

Furthermore Rita, your suggestion that Debbie should have attacked people makes no sense. Why didn’t you show up at any meetings and attack yourself? I watched every board meeting from home and never saw anyone named Rita address the board over this issue.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on May 14, 2007 at 8:07 am

Well said, hdtv267.

DMS on May 14, 2007 at 8:17 am

Ms. Dynako –

You are way off base. There was no cheering except from some drivers who honked and cheered as they passed and a large group of commuters as they came off the train just before 6pm.

There is no sense in debating the past anymore but the reconsideration was just that. There were no promises made that the RSC plan would be voted through if you agreed to support tearing down the auditorium. They could have NOT reconsidered at all and tore the WHOLE building down at that time. They did not need your permission. The village owned the property, not the Friends. In fact, those of us who fought the RSC plan were NOT happy with the reconsideration or the trustees who supported it. We believed then as we do now that the RSC plan was bad for our neighborhood and our village. We do NOT need more condos or a building of that size. A TIF funded blackbox theatre was not enough of a positive to take away from the numerous negatives that this plan was sure to bring.

As far as the cheering, my neighbors and I did not choose to behave in that fashion but those that did certainly had the right to. Many believed if not for the demolition, the next board would have agreed to any variances just to save the remaining structure. That would have been bad for Lombard. In addition, there were some there who didn’t have an opinion about the issue but were just sick and tired of no progress at the site and saw the demolition as an important first step to progress.

Perhaps if you had been there speaking with some of the 100-200 people who were there instead of taking your account from others you would realize that.

Time for all of us to move past this issue and enjoy our biggest event of the year this weekend.

DaveWiegers on May 14, 2007 at 8:24 am

DuPage people – both sides – please go away and fight amongst yourselves privately.

davidplomin on July 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The last post here is over 4 years old, and that plot of land is still empty. Any plans by the city of Lombard in the near future?

Tom_Allen on August 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

David – as a longtime village resident I can tell you ‘no…ain’t going to happen.’ The parking lot is what the demolitionists had in mind.

My wife and I got to talking about the wasteland that downtown Lombard is with so many empty storefronts and high churn rate. We took a drive through and had a look at places worth shopping. There are banners that advertise ‘forgivable loans’ from the Village in the vacant properties.

‘Forgivable Loans.’ Makes me sick.

Difference between downtown Lombard and downtown Glen Ellyn (where we shop and dine though we’re only five blocks from Park and St. Charles) is Lombard lacked foresight, pride and political will when it counted the most. Glen Ellyn…well what needs to be said about Glen Ellyn?

I’ve got my copy of “Footsteps on the Tall Grass Prairie” and have found a place in the book where the town council agrees in 1971 that unless changes were undertaken along St. Charles Road the downtown would die. It appears as though the author is correct, though I’ll have to do more research. It is interesting to this outsider that there are now names of people who rode the rubble down. I’d like to know the names of those that moved the village offices to Roosevelt Road in the late 70’s for they truly screwed downtown Lombard.

When one counts the dead, trapped-in-a-time-warp storefronts two blocks away from the anchor of the downtown that was the Dupage Theater as you leave for Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, or Elmhurst, one simply shakes one’s head in wonder about the people who created the events that killed the landmark theater and brought us the blight that is another parking lot.

They killed a centerpiece of our future downtown for political reasons and left us to park our cars on memories of the sublime beauty that was downtown Lombard and the visions of a thriving community center.

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