Belpark Theatre

3231 N. Cicero Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

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Showing 1 - 25 of 52 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 21, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Brian Wolf: I tried to reach you recently at your email address. But, like so many people, it’s possible you don’t monitor Yahoo any more. I have some Chicago movie palace artifacts that need a new home. You seem plugged into the Chicago preservation scene. So I thought you might be able to help identify a destination. My attempts so far have been fruitless. Please contact me at if you think you might be able to help.

Broan on December 4, 2017 at 7:25 am

I remember seeing construction pictures where those tops of the exit arches were all that was left.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 3, 2017 at 10:41 pm

It’s a shame the interior made it so many years only to get dumbed down. I wonder if some Urban Remains-type place bought those plaster pieces. If they got hauled away whole it would seem to be a possibility.

DavidZornig on July 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I found two pics in my phone from 2014. Interior elements leaving being hauled away on a truck. Not the best pics, but both are in the Photos section.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 12, 2015 at 7:43 pm

That’s quite a fundraising drive they pulled together.

I’ve been wondering what would happen to the Belpark. It’s been Golden Tiara for so long, it just seemed like the average run of a Chicago business meant change was coming.

Broan on May 25, 2015 at 10:08 am

It looks like they did a nice job. Before:

Construction videos: Video 1: Video 2: Video 3:

They seem to have preserved and exposed most of what remained, and walled over the rest. They partitioned off the rear part of the auditorium into classroom-type space. I’m sure they intend to dismantle that and move those functions to storefront spaces as their congregation grows. The one odd thing I noticed in the video was that the lunettes at the top of each archway in the theatre were removed for some reason.

DavidZornig on March 23, 2015 at 11:36 pm

I added one photo as Chicago Tabernacle, March 2015. I’ll get another some Sunday when there is no parking directly in front.

GFeret on March 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm

tomorrow mar 15 this place (what was the BelPark theatre) re-opens as

a modest canopy hangs over the front entrance on Cicero ave stating ‘Chicago Tabernacle CT’, in place of what once many years ago was the BelPark theatre marquee.

I don’t exactly know but I’d hazard a good guess the newest renovation here utilizes what the old theatre had to offer inside, much much better than the previous Golden Tiara seniors bingo hall had done

GFeret on October 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

the bel park yesterday had practically all traces of ‘golden tiara’ (bingo) removed, including the doorway canopy, and front doors boarded-up. definitely looks like re-construction going on inside (contractor sign was attached)

DavidZornig on June 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Drove by today and saw the red & white Public Notice on the door. Then saw a post on the Chicago Theatre Preservation Alliance Facebook page, that included the below link. The BelPark will be the new home of Chicago Tabernacle. The same folks who originally wanted the Portage Theatre. So good news all around, with both now being saved.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

I wonder if the lobby chandelier is original to the theater, or if it was added by one of the post-warehouse tenants.

GFeret on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

i’m glad when a religious organization takes over a former theatre, and can live with bingo activity doing similarly, because it means the building’s lease on life has been extended instead of it falling into disuse & vacancy. we’ve had far too many heartbreaking examples of that

what i say above goes double for former theatres which could be characterized as old movie palaces. personally i favor these alternate useages specifically for the distinct possibility at least a percentage can and will revert to film exhibition once again. that’s a goal quite compatible with this cinematreasures site, and why i’d point out a missed opportunity like the BelPark

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

I am late to this discussion, and I haven’t read every comment. But here is my two cents: The Belpark has been positively serving the community as a bingo hall for many years. I really don’t know much about bingo. But it seems like people pay something to get in, play bingo and have a chance to win prize money, while at the same time socializing. That sounds like a good thing. I’d rather see this church take residence in a space that is currently vacant. In a city the size of Chicago there must be at least a few to choose from.

GFeret on July 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

sears parking lot 2-½ block east, not a convenient asset even if sears made it plainly known portage theatre parking was permitted

parking issue aside—it’s not that important to me personally—restoring the belpark yes was a blown theatrical opportunity

Broan on July 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

A blown opportunity to spend several times as much for a few hundred more seats to fill, maybe (and remember, there are no seats in place). An opportunity to get foreclosed. Of course, is it even an opportunity if the owners of the Belpark had no interest in selling, and the operators of the Portage did not have funds to buy, but rent? Easy to play 20/20 hindsight, but I have actually been through the Belpark fairly recently. Don’t forget the Portage has Sears parking. It’s a good opportunity for the church, which should have better access to financing, and perhaps they’ll end up making the facility available for other events, assuming they’re able to make the deal happen.

GFeret on July 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

of course the BelPark’s different, with potential closeby parking too (Patio theatre doesn’t have that). a blown opportunity

Broan on July 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm

If you are in the area, I encourage you to visit the Golden Tiara bingo hall. I think walking around inside will help you understand how it’s different from the Portage.

Trolleyguy on July 25, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Reread Broan’s comments above. ‘Nuff said.

GFeret on July 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

i don’t share those impressions of that area, having first moved there in 1981

liquor is liquor—restaurant served or store bought

Trolleyguy on July 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I beg to differ about the Elinor. I worked for the Chicago Dept of Human Services for many years in the emergency shelter program. We would only place people in need of temporary housing there as a last resort, because of the unsavory clientele and activities which took place there. The liquor store is a magnet and certainly can’t be compared to a restaurant which serves liquor.

I still live in the area (Jefferson Park), so I know what I’m talking about.

GFeret on July 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Music Box would die for a parking lot. I would die for a parking lot going to the Music Box.

Lack of a lot was always cited as the main handicap when the Portage fate looked grim a ½ doz yrs ago.

i solve both above problems on bicycle

plenty of vehicular trafic to go around, and then some, at both cicero/irving park & cicero/belmont. like Community Bank the Hotel Elinor are very longstanding neighborhood fixtures, hardly transient.

6 corners has had great difficulty keeping an anchor store at its large southeast corner, i could rattle off many names going back to Kee

normal access to liquor is the common theme, as such it’s either positive or negative

Broan on July 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

The fact that there are so many surface parking lots at Cicero should make it clear that it’s a less hot area. If there was much demand for land at Cicero & Belmont, the bank would likely sell much of its oversized parking lots for redevelopment. 6 corners has Sears & Jewel, Cicero has Walgreens. Milwaukee and Irving Park are much more heavily trafficked than that part of Cicero & Belmont. If empty lots are better than occupied businesses, explain the Music Box.

There are no seats at all at the Belpark. Capacity couldn’t be more than a few hundred, as bingo is conducted at widely-spaced card tables. It’s also not exclusively seniors. I think if you saw inside the Belpark you’d understand why both parties went after the Portage first.

A restaurant with a liquor license is a much different animal than a liquor store & flophouse.

GFeret on July 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

“(cicero & belmont) doesn’t have the visibility, transit access, or commercial district….as the portgae does”. Huh? Of course it does as much or moreso as 6 corners. Tell all this to Community Savings Bank president Dale Cleven, i’d bet he’d be surprised to hear it.

if the belpark has too many seats for films it must have too many seats for senior bingo, and that’s not stopping it

objecting to a liquor store across the street? i recall an objection to a a church taking over the portage because then 6 corners restaurants couldn’t get a liquor license!

empty lots, free parking or otherwise, certainly are better than no lots at all

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I do like the terra cotta and would love to see all those stud lights lite on the Belpark, but what about that missing great window and that messed up interior? Belpark 2,004 seats, to many, and all gone. Portage 1,321 seats, more realistic, and on the deck.

Trolleyguy on July 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

You still also have the issue of a large liquor store and flophouse (transient hotel) directly across the street from the Belpark. Is this the kind of area that is going to attract folks who want to visit the theater?