Devon Theatre

6225 N. Broadway,
Chicago, IL 60660

Unfavorite 5 people favorited this theater

Showing 21 comments

DavidZornig on April 10, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Cool. The IDOT site is usually pretty finicky when it comes to downloading away from. And you were able to enlarge it too.

Mister_Comics on April 10, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Thanks DavidZornig! Just added it to the “Photo” section for you.

DavidZornig on April 10, 2019 at 11:05 am

Devon vertical sign can be seen in the below 1937 IDOT photo when enlarged within the site.

DavidZornig on December 27, 2018 at 7:53 pm

The Devon Theatre would have been just to the right of the building in this link, The American Film Company Incorporated. Matches up with the building in the Overview photo, before it was torn down and replaced by the McDonald’s.

DavidZornig on September 15, 2017 at 6:12 am

Circa 1986 photo added courtesy of Janeen Rosenberg‎.

rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 9:10 am

December 25th, 1929 grand opening ads for the Pantheon and the Devon in the photo section.

mgk on September 13, 2015 at 7:12 am

My father worked as a handyman for Jim Burrows, who held leases on the Devon, Adelphi and 400 theaters. I was 11 years old, so this was around 1975. As kids, my brothers and I were free to explore the basement, projection booth, inside the false ceilings. I remember finding an organ pipe made of lead and blowing into it all day. As I recall, the building was owned by legendary Chicago slumlord, Lou Wolf, and Jim was constantly battling him to make repairs. Jim later ran the Three Penny for many years.

boilerbob7 on July 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I still remember when they had an overnight special showing Beatles movies all night. There was thick smoke from many people toking up LOL. It was pouring rain when everyone was leaving around 6AM

Blessedtwoday on July 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Definitely went on a few dates there back in the day.

snowball1 on February 5, 2013 at 11:53 pm

My sister and I used to go to the Jerri Barrington School of ballet up above this theater in the mid 80’s.

DavidZornig on May 2, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Well it is definately pre-1986. That exterior, freestanding ticket booth was gone by the time I rented the upstairs space.

kencmcintyre on May 2, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Here is an undated photo from the Chicago Tribune:

DavidZornig on April 19, 2009 at 8:33 am

Well I guess that confirms my “Cat People” recollection. I just reread the very first post about this theater. I had no idea of the Herschell Gordon Lewis ownership/connection.
My late father briefly knew or worked with him in the `60’s. My father had worked at/with Vogue Wright, Wernecke, Joy Recording & Fred Niles Studios(now Harpo) back in the day. I wish I’d known of the connection when I lived above the Devon Theatre

Lewis is still alive. I think he released a CD called “The Eye Popping Sounds of Herschell Gordon Lewis.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig on December 5, 2008 at 11:11 am

I went by the site of the old Devon Theatre today on the “L” train.
The entire span of land from the neighboring McDonalds, all the way around the corner on Granville to the “L” tracks has been developed.

A massive condo project with different levels, balconies and what not stands in it’s place. Long gone with the Devon are the corner medical center, Char-Lar Lounge, Deadwood Daves & the Eagles Nest along the Granville side.

DavidZornig on August 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm

In late 1986, I rented the studio space above the Devon Theatre. It was a former ballet studio, and the horizontal ballet poles were still mounted on the walls. Which I used as closet poles. We painted the ceiling black & added some clouds after a buddy
spraying the walls got creative.

I was working in East Edgewater, and my grand plan was to create a unique loft space with limited funds. The rent was cheap. However the Devon Theatre below was already closed. The theatre portion had no heat or utilities. Hence when winter finally hit, no matter how much heat my ceiling level gas heater pumped out, the hardwood floors remained cold as ice. The pipes ultimately froze, spliting one of the sinks.
The portion of the Devon’s roof which had collapsed was behind me & above the auditorium. The ballet studio was directly over the lobby, the two long vertical windows on either side of the marquee.

6225 N. Broadway is the correct address.
There was also an occult store & mini diner next door. An apartment building was adjacent, as visible in the picture at the top of this Cinema Treasures page. Across the alley was a bar called Freddy Fuddpuckers, that then became Frankie’s. Owned by the son of an Alderman from another ward.

I believe Chicago band Nicholas Tremulas rented my space for rehearsal, after I was forced to abandon my grandiose plans. Plans that were likely fueled by too many nights across the street, at a bar ironically called Impulse.
Neighbors in the apartments next door, would bang on the walls when we made noise during our various improvements.
They probably sorely missed me once a band moved in.

Years later there was a small oil painting of the Devon’s facade, oddly hanging in Howard’s tavern beer garden down on Ontario St. I regret not purchasing it.

As a theatre, the Devon was still active as late as 80 &81. I saw “Cat People” and “Thief” there. The auditorium of the theatre had a giant round reveal in the ceiling, with it’s own recessed lighting.
It too was all painted black. Surely to help mask the water damage that still found it’s way through from the white plaster beneath. Again like the 3 Penny, buckets on some of the seats.

Beyond what was thought to be humanly possible, the Peoples Gas guy and I found evidence of people living in the basement when we went down there to activate my service. Scar-y.

The space really had potential, but the Devon Theatre’s dormant status made it unworkable except during the Summer months. When they tore it down, I got one last look at the black ceilings from the street.

The police once approached the owners about using the upstairs as a surveilance spot for one of the taverns across the street. Did I really need them up there myself, with all my intended renovations? Not really. Besides, I patronized those very bars.
I moved before it came to fruition.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 8, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Dig this excellent photo set:

Note the obligatory swastika spray-painted on the wall of the abandoned lobby.

Broan on December 5, 2005 at 4:27 pm

Architect was Henry L. Newhouse, indicated by Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1915, pA8

cmgiulini on May 21, 2005 at 9:15 pm

“A Thousand Clowns” ran for almost a year at this house, and DeBroca’s “King of Hearts” for almost as long.

Broan on March 26, 2005 at 8:03 pm

Correct address was 6225 N Broadway. It was owned by Herschell Gordon Lewis of exploitation fame, along with the 400, and Adelphi from 1967-1972. In 1972, he sold the lease of the Adelphi to Clyde Klepper and Jim Burrows, and 400 and Devon leases were sold to a third party. Burrows and Klepper quickly took on the 400 and Devon as well. In 1974 Bruce Trinz, who had run the famed Clark and son of one of the founders of the Lubliner & Trinz chain, was hired to program the three, which he did for several years. In 1977 the Devon and Adelphi were sublet to Richard Stern, who ran the Wilmette and whose family had been in the business since 1929. In the early 80s Burrows took back the Devon and Adelphi from Stern. The theaters, which were owned by a consortium of attorneys headed by lawyer Samuel Fumel, were deteriorating badly. In December 1984 the roof of the Devon collapsed, and Burrows asked the owners what they intended to do. One of the lawyers replied, “That’s what you have insurance for.” Fumel died in 1984, and soon the other owners were trying to sell the theaters. They sold the 400 in 1986. Tired of all the problems, Burrows unloaded the Devon and Adelphi in 1987. Prior to its demise, the Devon was owned by notorious chicago land bankers Lou Wolf and Ken Goldberg, who also have owned the Granada, Sheridan, Riviera, Uptown, and Marquette, among others. The Devon was finally demolished in 1996. Sources: Chicago Reader, “Three Penny Operator”, February 21, 1997; Chicago Magazine, “The Wrecker”, May 1989