De Luxe Theatre
1141 W. Wilson Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Gumbiner Bros.
Architects: Mark D. Kalischer
Firms: Huehl & Schmidt
The De Luxe Theatre was built in 1912 – one of the earliest theatres in the once-fashionable Uptown neighborhood built specifically for motion pictures.
The De Luxe Theatre was built for the Gumbiner Brothers circuit and featured organist Fred Sosman on its large pipe organ, who had previously been the organist at the Auditorium Theatre on Michigan Avenue. It is said that Gloria Swanson, a Chicago-native, frequented the De Luxe Theatre when she lived in Uptown and made her earliest films at the nearby Essannay Studios.
One early visitor to the theatre remarked that “if the place fails at the pictures, it could readily be turned into a church”. For the first couple decades of its existence, it was one of the most popular movie houses in Uptown, until the opening of larger, much more extravagant palaces like the Uptown Theatre and Riviera Theatre which made the De Luxe Theatre as less desirable venue for movie-goers.
In 1938, the De Luxe Theatre was remodeled in a Streamline Moderne style to the plans of architect Mark D. Kalischer. It remained in operation into the 1960’s, though by then, the Uptown neighborhood had a dicey reputation. The De Luxe Theatre was demolished in 1972 and the site became part of Truman College.
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