Chelten Theatre

7945 S. Exchange Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60649

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 21 comments

Rolando on August 13, 2020 at 10:14 am

Thanks for that information rivest266.

rivest266 on August 11, 2020 at 5:37 pm

The Chelten theatre opened on January 21st, 1928. Grand opening ad posted.

Rolando on October 18, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Cool article on the Chelten Broan.

Broan on October 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Here is a nice article and photos of the Chelten

RiisPark on March 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Dishes were a popular premium back in the 50’s that movie theatres used to lure people back each week to the show. One week you’d get a cup and if you wanted a saucer you’d have to come back the next week—and so on and so on.

beautifulmorning on January 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm

My late mother collected dishes – a rose pattern – on “dish night” from this movie theater in the 50’s. Does anyone remember that or why they gave them out?

Broan on January 13, 2011 at 12:05 am

Architects were Betts & Holcomb

Rolando on February 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for the info Mike. The Chelten was my neighborhood theater, having seen “Funny Girl”, “Hello, Dolly”, “Anne of a Thousand Days”, “The Out-of-Towners” among many others. Good memories. Never went to the Gaiety since I didn’t speak Spanish, but I loved the banana ice-cream they sold in the long carboard containers.

mikeroman on February 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I recall watching with my friends “How I Won the War” and “The Battle of Britain” at the Chelten Theatre back in the late ‘60s and early '70’s.
My band The Tellstars also performed there in conjunction with an appearance we had made at the Gayety Theatre in South Chicago.
According to news reports, the Gayety Theatre was gutted by an arson fire in May 1982 and the Chelten was the only theatre left in the area, but it closed down as well. Both theatres at one point were leased or owned by Ricardo Ruiz and his wife who apparently didn’t want or know how to maintain these precious historical land marks.
For more information, please visit

Mike Roman, Esq.
Chicago, Il.

Rolando on May 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Doea anyone know what happened to the Evergreen Theaters (there were three screens); the Jeffrey and Beverly?

kencmcintyre on April 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Here is a more recent view of the Chelten:

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Here is a 1982 photo when it was the Cine Chelten:

Rolando on August 15, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I remember going to the Chelten when I lived in South Deering. Saw some awesome movies there: Anne of a Thousand Days, Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, The Out-of-Towners, The Cowboys. Some of the pics posted here don’t come through.

Broan on June 17, 2006 at 11:52 am

Here is a profile from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s HAARGIS system. It includes a small picture.

Broan on November 12, 2005 at 10:03 am

Interior decoration was done by important sculptor and designer Alfonso Iannelli, who also worked on the Pickwick, Catlow, Midway Gardens, Prudential building, etc.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 3, 2005 at 4:48 pm

Church services were taking place there around 1989. The Chelten attraction sign, which carried the theatre’s name and hung from the metal structure visible in the photo posted on June 4, 2005, was still there at that time. The worship group’s name was posted where the movie names would have been. There was also a small lighted marquee (no attraction boards, just light bulbs arranged on metal), which shows in the photo above. The building appeared to be well cared for at that time, both outside and inside. Probably is a good candidate for reuse.

DanSternquist on September 1, 2005 at 7:29 pm

The Chelten Theater was practically right out our back door and across the alley. I once worked at a nearby service station, sweeping up, to earn the 25¢ admission to the Saturday features. Long gone is the Marquee.
I do not believe the Light House Babtist Church services are held there anymore.

richardg on February 25, 2004 at 7:52 pm

The Chelten Theatre was showing Spanish language films to packed houses from 1978 into the early 80’s. The numerous lay offs at south side steel mills in the 80’s, however, soom caused rapid declines in attendance. During this time period the theatre was owned by Ricardo & marge Ruiz. According to the Ruiz’s the Moorish-style theatre had seating capacity of 1250.

risingmoon on February 25, 2004 at 3:13 pm

The Chelten Theater closed in the early to mid 1970’s to become a neighborhood House of Worship.
During its final years as a movie house, the Chelten played such
1960’s classics as “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Dr. Doolittle”,
“Mary Poppins”, “101 Dalmatians”, “The Aristocats” and “Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang."
The Chelten’s interior decor was provided by the same firm that did the interiors of the historic Catlow Theater in Barrington, Illnois.
The Chelten Theater is fondly remembered by many who grew up on Chicago’s Far South (and Southeast) sides during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

William on December 11, 2003 at 6:07 pm

The Chelten Theatre seated 998 people.

wurlitzer7 on December 11, 2003 at 5:46 pm

The Chelten has been a church for about 15 years. There appears
to be little change from the outside. The organ chambers were half way down the house on the side walls in the middle.