Lakeside Theatre

4730 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Ascher Brothers Inc., Balaban & Katz Corp., Lubliner & Trinz

Architects: Ralph C. Harris

Functions: Youth Center

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Opened with Harry Mestayer in “The House of a Thousand Candles” on September 4, 1915. It was built and operated by the Ascher Brothers circuit (two years later taken over by the Lubliner & Trinz circuit) in the once-fashionable Uptown neighborhood. The 1,000-seat Lakeside Theatre was located on N. Sheridan Road at Lakeside Place, not far from Lincoln Park. Originally, the theatre sat well over 1,000 and was equipped with a large pipe organ. On September 20, 1933 it was taken over by the Balaban & Katz Corp and they operated it as a discount house.

The Lakeside Theatre closed around late-1966 or the beginning of 1967, and was acquired by the Dance Center of Columbia College in 1970.

Thirty years later Columbia College vacated the building for a larger, new home in the South Loop. The former Lakeside today houses a youth center.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

CompassRose on March 2, 2011 at 1:50 am

Photos of the Lakeside from 1936: Lakeside Theater.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on July 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

All 5 photos of the Lakeside as a functioning movie house were taken in 1961. I worked there as an assistant manager when I was an art student in Chicago.

KenC on July 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thanks for those great photos of the Lakeside, Jon. Love that triple feature! The auditorium- more beautiful than I recall. Most unusual thing about the Lakeside- the location of the mens room. Literally just a few steps away from the exit doors and the sidewalk.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on August 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thank you Ken. Glad you like the photos. Truth be told, I probably spent more hours at the Lakeside than I did in class.

DavidDymond on August 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Nice photographs Jon. I love the one of the candy lady with the old-fashioned BUTTER MAT!! Those old fashioned BUTTER SERVERS had a bowl that would rotate and lights that were animated and would flash on and off. That picture is a real beauty. You were very lucky to work at a place like that! I too worked at Famous Players Jon, maybe you remember my name! Cheers!

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on August 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Dave, yes I do remember you. Bye the way, I’m still in touch with Don Beelik who was a theatre manager at Famous. If I’m not mistaken, you knew Don. I still have fond memories of working at the Lakeside and it helped prepare me for running the Roxy theatre in Toronto a few years later. And as much as I enjoyed working at the Lakeside, I really loved seeing movies at the massive Uptown theatre which was located just a few blocks away from us. What an astounding theatre! I can’t believe that it’s still sitting there abandoned and slowly disintegrating… one of the most spectacular theatres ever built.

DavidZornig on February 12, 2015 at 9:48 am

Lakeside Theatre 1936 IDOT photo added.

DavidZornig on April 23, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Early `60’s photo added to Photos Section, credit Uptown Historical Society. Via their below Facebook page.

rivest266 on August 13, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Reopened by Balaban & Katz on September 20th, 1933 as a discount theater. Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2021 at 8:43 pm

Here is a description of the Lakeside Theatre from an article about Ascher Bros. in the March 10, 1917 issue of Moving Picture World:

“The opening of the Lakeside theater, Sheridan road and Lakeside place, marked the entrance of the Ascher Bros, to the North side section of Chicago. This beautiful house was formally opened to the public on Saturday, September 4, 1915, and it has been doing a large and profitable business ever since. It is situated in the busiest neighborhood on the North Side, known as the ‘Wilson Avenue’ district, where more business is done each day than is transacted in an ordinary small town. There are close to thirty hotels in this neighborhood alone to draw from.

“Matinees are held daily in this theater and three shows are given in the evening. An orchestra of select musicians accompanied by a large pipe organ furnishes the music at all presentations. The seating capacity is 1,000, and the admission price is 10 cents for matinees and 15 cents at night. The theater is under the management of William C. Lamereaux.”

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