5609 W. North Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Paramount-Publix, Stern Theater Interests
Architects: William T. Hooper, Fred W. Janusch
Firms: Hooper & Janusch
Styles: Italian Renaissance
Originally built in 1924 for the Lynch circuit not far from the Chicago border with the suburb of Elmwood Park, the Manor Theatre was located at the intersection of W. North Avenue and N. Central Avenue.
Seating was provided for 1,835, and in the late-1920’s, was acquired by Balaban & Katz. The Manor Theatre originally also housed a three manual Kimball organ.
Closed around the mid-1950’s, the Manor Theatre was converted into a banquet hall in the 1960’s and survived at least into the early-1990’s before being torn down. A Walgreens is now on the site of the Manor Theatre.
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Recent comments (view all 14 comments)
I wrestled there in the early 1990’s with Windy City Wrestling. Headlined in a cage match as the Untouchables – maybe July 1991.
Here are some 1983 photos:
I remember driving past this place a lot in the early
80's. I loved that swooped underside to the marquee. There was a deserted50’s suburban feel to that stretch of North Ave.
With giant bridal shops & stores that seemed to never have foot traffic.
Also the Wagon Wheel & Randall’s Ribs restaurants, plus Kiddieland weren’t too far away. I think a CVS or Walgreens also replaced the Wagon Wheel.
The Manor going from weddings to wrestling is interesting.
My father says this place was once known as the Ferrara-Manor (when it was a banquet hall).
It was called the Ferrara Manor, because the owners of the Ferrara Pan Candy Company in Forest Park purchased the theater once it closed. The owners of the candy company also had (and still own) a bakery in the old Italian neighborhood in Chicago. The family lived nearby in River Forest and wanted the building as an ancillary venue to their primary businesses. Renting the banquet hall meant you would use Ferrara for your wedding cake and candies as well as other catering needs.
Eventually the decline of the neighborhood around the Manor caused their banquet business to go south.
Here is a shot from a bus site – circa 1967
I remember seeing Dracula as a kid there in the late 1950’s.
I knew the family that operated it as Di Vinci Manor in the 1980’s. They operated it as a banquet and a bingo hall. I also saw some boxing matches there around this time.
Parts of the Kimball pipe organ went into Evanston Township High School, now since removed and into the hands of Theatre organ instalations.
Does anyone have photos of the ballroom when it was Farrara Manor. It was so beautiful and steps down to it from another level with chairs and tables all around to get away from the noise and crowd to talk. Some must have photos from their weddings. We couldn’t afford it, but it was wonderful to go to a wedding there.
Correction: The Manor Theatre was not near the boarder of Elmwood Park, off Central Ave. It was in North Austin, not far from Gale Wood, and Oak Park, both which are west of Austin Ave. farther west on North Ave. In the 70s the Manor was a bingo hall before being buldozed. Elmwood Park is west of Harlem Ave.