Tower Theatre

1510 E. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60637

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Lubliner & Trinz, Publix Theaters Corporation

Firms: Fridstein & Company

Styles: Italian Renaissance, Neo-Classical

Nearby Theaters

Tower Theater Looking East from IC Tracks

One of Chicago’s great lost movie palaces, the Tower Theatre, located in the Woodlawn neighborhood at E. 63rd Street between S. Stony Island Avenue and S. Blackstone Avenue, near Jackson Park, was one of a trio of very similarly designed (and sized) theatres built by the firm of Fridstein & Company for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit (the Harding Theatre, Tower Theatre and Congress Theatre).

The Tower Theatre, the largest of the three, seated just under 3,000, and was opened April 11, 1926, half a year after the Harding Theatre, and half a year before the Congress Theatre.

All three were designed in a similar Italian Renaissance style. Of the three, the Tower Theatre would be the least ornately decorated, but had a large stage and, like its siblings, was home to vaudeville and stage shows in addition to motion pictures for its first decade or so in operation.

In 1928, the Tower Thetare, along with the entire Lubliner & Trinz chain, was swallowed up by the Balaban & Katz empire of theatres. It remained a B & K house for the remainder of its existence.

The Tower Theatre closed in 1956 and was demolished in 1957.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

GrandMogul on April 11, 2007 at 11:29 am

Chicago Daily News, Wednesday, June 5, 1940, p. 23, c. 7—-
The most-talked-of picture ever filmed, “Gone With The Wind,” begins its one week only engagement in the neighborhoods on Friday, June 7, when Balaban & Katz books the technicolor classic into the Tower Theater, 63rd street and Blackstone; the State Theater, 5814 West Madison street, and the Riviera Theater, Broadway at Lawrence.

It will be presented complete and intact, as it is being shown in the Loop.

Reserved seats for the engagements are on sale at special box-offices in each theater and mail orders are being given prompt attention. Seats are reserved for the evening performances which start at 8 pm and for the Sunday matinee, which will begin at 2 pm.

Week day matinees will be continuous from 10 am. Patrons may come as late as 2 pm and see a complete matinee performance.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 18, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Interesting Tower Theatre photo sent by a friend of mine from 1960. Unfortunately, the image is not centered on the theatre.

View link

Scroll down and open this document:


WayOutWardell on May 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

There’s an aerial photo from 1962 that shows the theater’s footprint, so it was demolished sometime between ‘60 (when the above CTA photo was taken) and '62. Interestingly, the theater’s adjacent retail and apartment spaces appear intact at least until 1972, when another aerial photo was taken.

rwt on April 22, 2009 at 6:18 am

My memories of growing up in Woodlawn are very strong. I attended Scott Elementary eight years and then went to Hyde Park H.S. I think it was an honor to be raised among the diversity of culture which surrounded the community.
The Tower, the Kimbark, and the Lexington were all entertainment mainstays for our family. I was a toddler taken to Gone With The Wind, and Frankenstein laid out in the lobby is special to me to this day.

gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

According to the date on the last post, this is not a particularly popular site. I have particular interest in the Tower Theater because I purchased and removed to Louisville, Kentucky, the 4/20 Publix WurliTzer pipe organ from that theater. Three of the cut glass chandeliers from the inner lobby of that theater hang in my home and my brother’s home, even as I write, and two more of them are in rough storage in my basement. If anyone would like to know anything about this organ, I would be happy to correspond. Gorham

gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

To contact Gorham

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 1, 2011 at 2:33 am

A picture of 63rd & Stony Island, showing the Tower Theatre’s tower:

paulnelson on October 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

What a handsome structure and tower sign. Should be a landmark still.

sunset_lines on November 4, 2015 at 12:59 pm

When the Tower was being demolished, the contractor advertised artifacts for sale in the Sunday Tribune. A friend and I took the Jackson Park “L” there and bought a number of things, including two sizable plaster female figures from high in the auditorium, missing their feet since the feet would not have been visible from the floor. No way could they have been transported on the “L”; we starving art students took a cab back home at considerable expense. The statues came to be known as the “Leprosy Ladies”.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 10, 2016 at 9:24 am

The Tower had its grand opening on April 11th, 1926. An ad has been posted in the Photos Section.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.