Tower Theatre

1510 E. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60637

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Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

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

sunset_lines on November 4, 2015 at 3:59 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”.

paulnelson on October 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

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

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 1, 2011 at 5:33 am

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

gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm

To contact Gorham

gorhamzoro on March 28, 2011 at 7:59 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

rwt on April 22, 2009 at 9:18 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.

WayOutWardell on May 12, 2008 at 12:35 am

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.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 18, 2008 at 10:29 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:


GrandMogul on April 11, 2007 at 2:29 pm

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 December 17, 2006 at 7:08 pm

That is pretty neat. I have never seen a full profile of the Tower before. I wonder if the two towers were clad with building materials, or if they simply mounted signs on them?

KenC on November 9, 2006 at 9:08 pm

To marilynw: In the book “IMAGES of AMERICA – The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban & Katz” by David Balaban, you will find pics of the Tower theatre(and many other B&K theatres- neighborhood and downtown). On page 86, there is a drawing of the outside. It’s nice, but even better- on page 87- there are two great photos. One is of the auditorium- 3,015 seats, according to the text. The other photo is of the marquee, the street, and the elevated tracks. Looks like the tracks are just a few feet away from the theatre. On the marquee: SEE AND HEAR HAROLD LLOYD IN WELCOME DANGER. Then a sign : BALABAN & KATZ. On the other side of the sign, more marquee letters: THE WHOLE SHOW ON THE LIVING SCREEN.

Broan on July 21, 2006 at 6:50 am

I have some great drawings, but i’d need your email. Mine is there if you click my name.

marilynW on July 21, 2006 at 5:08 am

Does anyone have a picture of the Tower that you could email me

KenC on July 20, 2006 at 10:07 pm

The Tower theatre was open at least through October 1956. I suspect it closed soon thereafter. At any rate, from the Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 1956: TOWER 1500 E. 63rd Open 5:00 “TRAPEZE” “PROUD AND PROFANE” “SEA AROUND US”. It is not listed with the other B&K theatres on the south side; I’m guessing that when the theatre was not all that profitable in its latter years, Balaban & Katz sold it to an independent. Same thing happened to the Lakeside, Pantheon, Howard, and other theatres in Chicago.

Broan on May 1, 2006 at 9:58 am

How is it that nobody has yet mentioned the 210 foot octagonal tower that made this theater so unique and distinctive? Also, the firm was actually spelled “Fridstein & Company”. Fridstein was primarily an engineering firm; they had also built theaters like the Portage, Howard, and also the Coliseum had housed Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show during the Columbian Exposition.

It’s a real shame that this is a strip mall now.

Broan on May 1, 2006 at 8:57 am

The Tower was built on the site of Chicago’s first Coliseum, which was part of the Columbian Exhibition, and home of the 1896 Democratic Convention, where William Jennings Bryan made his landmark “Cross of Gold” speech.

marilynW on January 26, 2006 at 5:37 pm

I loved the Tower I went there at least once a week in the late 40’s and early 50’s I lived on 65 th st I remember when they had the body of the Frankenstein monster laying out in the lobby and during the movie he walked around in the balcony and scared the kids half to death, what fun that was .

William on April 20, 2005 at 11:33 am

The Tower Theatre opened on April 11, 1926.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 20, 2005 at 12:28 am

When did it close, and what is now located on this site?

FrancesChapman on July 17, 2002 at 2:02 am

Technically, it was located in Woodlawn, the neighborhood south of Hyde Park. I lived a half a block away from it when I was a child.