Varsity Theater

1710 Sherman Avenue,
Evanston, IL 60201

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Showing 1 - 25 of 95 comments

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on June 13, 2023 at 2:49 am

The interior was gutted a few months back.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 12, 2023 at 9:12 pm

Building now has scaffolding around it.

DavidZornig on January 9, 2023 at 6:47 pm

Varsity Theatre to be converted into a 35-unit apartment building with ground floor retail. Evanston Round Table link below.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on December 27, 2022 at 6:59 pm

The Varsity Theatre closed on Thursday, August 16, 1984. Photo of final newspaper ad in Photo section.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 20, 2022 at 8:35 pm

Last time I drove by, and I don’t remember when that was, the first floor was being used by an Oriental Rug business. It was some kind of storage/pickup/wholesale facility for a nearby show room.

DavidZornig on March 26, 2021 at 1:14 pm

Northwestern Library Digital Collections photo. Varsity marquee on the right. Image will enlarge within link.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2020 at 9:59 am

5/23/20 photo added credit Joe Agnew. The retail tenants appear to have cleared out…

GregoryBear on December 14, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Hello again. I’m still hunting for any old monthly schedules or other memorabilia from the Varsity. I’ll appreciate any leads. Thanks!

GregoryBear on June 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm

Greetings! I just joined. I lived in the Varsity during my college years of 1974-78. Two different legendary movies every night, a world film course! I’m wondering if anyone might have any of the oversize one page monthly schedules they printed during that period, or know who to contact? Thanks so much!!

DavidZornig on April 26, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Evanston Patch article about the same.

DavidZornig on April 12, 2018 at 4:52 pm

1945 photo added via Jeff Warmington. Original wider marquee.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

Evanston Round Table, Volume XXI Number 5, March 8, 2018:

Northlight and Developers Withdraw Performing Arts Center Proposal

By Matt Simonette

Broan on March 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm

The redevelopment proposal is dead.

DavidZornig on February 28, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Original link to the 1976 UIC Library photo, which can be enlarged.

DavidZornig on October 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Here’s an opportunity to tell Evanston’s new mayor to save the Varsity and renovate it for Northlight, instead of tearing it down as part of the proposed tower. Ironically held in a new 1920s style speakeasy, owned by Ron Onesti. Who could tell them of his successes at the vintage Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 7, 2017 at 12:03 am

That’s terrible. Not only does the building destroy the Varsity, it looks like another oversized, cheap-looking development that has no respect for context. I also have to wonder how many more apartments the market can absorb before we get into bubble territory.

DavidZornig on September 6, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Exactly. Any hopes of renovation dashed in one dismissive sentence. New construction is all about egos. They can’t be the “visionaries” they think they are if they recycle something. I’m willing to bet they’ve already planned for a shorter tower. So it will look like a concession to the community when they complain about it’s size.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on September 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

It’s not in too poor shape to reuse. I was in the theater a few years ago. They wouldn’t get the extra 35 stories of apartments if they restored the Varsity.

DavidZornig on September 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

Well this is disturbing. Drop the 37 stories idea, renovate the Varsity which is encapsulated behind the GAP, and they’d be heroes to the community. Don’t believe them when they say it is in “too poor shape to reuse”. From this rendering, it looks like they would annex the alley and tear down almost the whole block going North.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on December 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm

I photographed the remains of the Varsity Theatre late last year. Check out some of my pictures and a short write up of the theater at: After the Final Curtain

DavidZornig on November 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm

The Varsity is seen at 12:40 in the below History of Evanston link on YouTube. (The Valencia at 10:37 & 11:09) Film by Ron & Sydney Crawford. Narrated by Byrne Piven of Evanston’s Piven Theatre.

james44 on November 5, 2015 at 9:19 am

A long time ago, after the final showings on Friday and Saturday nights, many moviegoers would then head for either Cooley’s Cupboard or the Coffee Room.

DavidZornig on October 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

Oil on canvas Varsity painting added, copyright Don Elmi via the below website. Many other theatres featured in it as well. Copy & paste to view.

DavidZornig on August 20, 2015 at 7:09 pm

1970 lobby photo added, photo credit and courtesy of Mary Gilbert Albrecht, pictured in her uniform