Columbus Theater

6238 S. Ashland Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60636

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Ascher Brothers Inc.

Architects: Henry L. Newhouse

Nearby Theaters

Columbus Theater

The 1,500-seat Columbus Theater opened December 18, 1915, on S. Ashland Avenue near West 63rd Street, in the West Englewood neighborhood. It was built for the Ascher Brothers circuit and was equipped with a large pipe organ. The Columbus Theater had a fairly brief career, since it was closed in 1926. It has long ago been torn down.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Englewood on October 22, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Was this ever known as the Hippodrome Theatre?

I have an ad from March 1915 for the Hippodrome with the location given as 63rd and Ashland—-no actual address.

kencmcintyre on March 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm

This document, which is lengthy, concerns the “Four Minute Men”, which was a group of WWI-related speakers in 1919. If you scroll down about halfway, there is a list of supporting theaters in Chicago, including addresses. The Columbus is on the list. It’s an interesting roster if you’re looking for any theaters around that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

The January 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World ran the following item about the Columbus Theatre:

“The Ascher Brothers opened their fine theater, the Columbus, Sixty-third street and Ashland avenue, this city, on Saturday, December 18. The Ascher Brothers justly consider the Columbus one of the most beautiful in their long chain of houses. Architect Newhouse says of the design of the interior: ‘It has always been my aim while designing theaters to avoid the trouble often found — too many useless seats, due to the arrangement. I decided to substitute the amphitheater arrangement for the seats and place the screen in such a position as to afford a clear and direct view from any seat in the auditorium. The use of the dome lighting system, by which the management can burn 150 sixty-watt lamps throughout the performance and keep the house well lighted without affecting the picture will meet with popular favor.’”

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 2:31 pm

The Columbus was noted for its diagonal auditorium, with the screen in one corner, similar to the Town/Park West. After the Columbus was closed in 1926 in favor of Ascher’s West Englewood, the building was remodeled into Queen Recreation Parlor, three floors of billiards & bowling.

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Queen Recreation lasted until at least 1962.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2021 at 9:48 pm

Here is a description of the Columbus Theatre from an article about the Ascher Bros. chain in Moving Picture World of March 10, 1917:

“The Columbus, Ashland avenue and Sixty-third street, seats 1,500 people, and was annexed to the Ascher chain on Christmas Day, 1915. This theater has the distinction of being the first ‘cornerways’ house ever built, the auditorium being practically square, with the screen across one corner. An immense dome with hundreds of concealed lights produce a beautiful effect. The entire side walls are covered with life-size mural paintings. With its wonderful acoustics the fine tones of a huge pipe organ are heard to fine advantage, and organ selections are given at each performance. The exterior of the building is lighted with powerful pylon beacon lights with a terra cotta border lighting, giving a flaming fire effect which can be seen for a mile around. A feature program is shown twice daily. D. E. Rice recently succeeded Harry Ascher as the manager.”

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