Comments from BROWNCOW7347

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BROWNCOW7347 commented about Lil Theatre on Mar 3, 2017 at 9:10 am

I am the owner of The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor that is lucky to reside in this beautiful theater! From talking to customers and my neighbors who have been in Forest Park for generations, I’m able to put together a bit of its history.

The building was originally built in 1886 as a Vaudeville show house. When cinema’s became popular, they would turn old show houses into movie theaters. A projection booth was poured in about 1912 and it opened as one of the first theaters west of Chicago as the Madison Circle Theatre. It changed hands many times before becoming the LIL theater. It was known as the LIL because a larger theater with multiple screens was built down the street.

I would welcome any photos people have of this theater — I’ve searched through archives everywhere and have come up short except the same photos you have posted here.

The theatre closed in the 60’s and has been a liquor warehouse, a bath and kitchen show room and Krenek’s Antiques. The original pitched floor still exists under the leveled floor. It was leveled over the the pitched floor, over the orchestra pit to the stage. The far room with the stage is closed to customers and serves as storage but you can easily see where the screen was.

The projection booth is still in tact as is the original blower system to the building. Although they don’t work and the building has been chopped up with false walls, plumbing and electric over the years – you can still see that it was a theater and we do our best to preserve it’s beauty and capture the era.

please email me if anyone has more information.