Balmoral Theatre

5400 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Additional Info

Architects: Jerome Soltan

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The Balmoral Theatre was located across the street from the famous Edgewater Beach Hotel. It featured plenty of parking in two lots at the corner of Balmoral Avenue and Sheridan Road on Chicago’s North Side.

Opened on December 28 1962 with Charlton Heston in “The Pigeon That Took Rome” it was described as “Chicago’s Newest Theatre in 25 Years”. The Balmoral Theatre featured “A-List” movies such as “Dr. Zhivago”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Lawrence of Arabia” and was the place to go for both hotel patrons and neighborhood residents.

The theatre was owned by the Demos brothers, Peter, Chris, and Lambros who had previously owned and managed the parking lot operation at the site.

The Balmoral Theatre closed in early-1966 and was demolished shortly afterward, replaced by an apartment building.

Contributed by Tom Demos

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

cmgiulini on May 21, 2005 at 8:44 pm

I remember as a kid seeing Lawrence of Arabia for the first time in this theater. What was striking about it was that it had a very modernist decor, and how small it was compared to the other theaters of the time (today, of course, it would be considered a large auditorium) The auditorium was long and narrow.

Broan on April 24, 2006 at 6:49 am

“The Balmoral, Chicago’s newest motion picture theater, located at Sheridan road and Balmoral avenue opposite the Edgewater Beach hotel, opened last week with a policy of presenting single feature domestic and foreign films. The theater, which seats 500, was constructed at a cost of $250,000. The Balmoral will present afternoon and evening performances and will provide free coffee for patrons. There is ample parking nearby. The feature attraction this week-end is "If a Man Answers,” starring Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.“ – Chicago Tribune, Jan 6, 1963

It opened December 28, 1962 with “The Pigeon That Took Rome”, and was described as “small but attractive, with aisles on both sides of the house, an arrangement which provides good vision from any vantage point. The arrangement is practical because the seats are of the push-back variety with ample room between rows. In April 1964, they shifted to exclusively foreign pictures. It closed in February 1966 with the Edgewater Beach Hotel following suit the next year, and a 4+1 apartment building soon rose on the theater’s site.

Incidentally, the Edgewater Historical Society’s site says an earlier Balmoral theater was on the site until 1911, but I can’t find evidence of this elsewhere.

davidplomin on December 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I wonder if this is where I saw It’s A Mad Mad Mad World? I was in 3rd grade, so my faint memory was a small modern theater with a simple interior in that part of town. Also the first and last time I saw a newsreel before the feature.

davidplomin on February 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm

It’s odd that someone would build a brand new movie theater in a neighborhood that still had plenty opened! And to last barely four years. That ugly four plus one building that replaced it is no improvement! One day, I’m sure town hoses will replace that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 29, 2021 at 12:18 am

An item about this theater appeared in the August 8, 1962 issue of Motion Picture Exhibitor:

“The Balmoral, a new movie house, is being built on the north side of Chicago. It may not be completed until early next year. The theatre will seat 500 persons. The architect is Jerome Soltan.”
Construction must have gone a bit faster than expected. As Broan noted in an earlier comment, the Balmoral opened on December 28, 1962.

The Balmoral’s architect, Jerome Soltan, is now remembered primarily as the inventor of the residential style known in the Chicago area as a four-plus-one, consisting of four levels of apartments over a ground floor parking garage– essentially a taller version of the Los Angeles apartment style known there as the dingbat, which also flourished during the post-WWII era. It’s quite possible that the four-plus-one that replaced the theater (noted in davidplomin’s comment) was also designed by Soltan.

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