Lawndale Theatre

4015 W. Roosevelt Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Additional Info

Architects: William P. Whitney

Firms: R. Levine & Co.

Previous Names: Rena Theatre, New Rena Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Balcony of the Lawndale Theater

The Lawndale Theatre opened October 19, 1927 with Carmel Myers in “The Girl From Rio” plus acts on the stage. It was located in the North Lawndale community on W. Roosevelt Road at S. Pulaski Road. It was a rather large neighborhood movie house, seating 2,000, which later featured burlesque, and after that, movies once more, before it was closed in 1963. It was known as the Rena Theatre in its later years. Most recently, the former theatre had housed a church.

It was demolished in July 2014.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 48 comments)

GFeret on July 22, 2014 at 4:04 am

they punched just one hole in a theatre wall that i could see, one gets the impression they’re hesitating now

R8teco on July 23, 2014 at 2:16 am

I talked to one of the guys with the demolition company last week. Their main problem is the basement. The structure right next to what is left, has a basement of 10 feet high! So, he told me that they need to bring more wood to cover/fill it… Also, he said that they are expecting another wrecking machine. Have not been easy to demolish it at once.

bpmckenna on July 24, 2014 at 5:44 am

Why (aside from neglect perhaps?) is this theater being demolished?

GFeret on July 29, 2014 at 12:12 am

watching more demolitiom first they wiped away the part of the Lawndale/Reno building that was integral storefronts w/ offices apartments upstair, which was finished before they started on any part of the theatre per se. but now with that they have and are demolishing the first flr theatre lobby area. it looks like the huge auditorium with its watertank tower waits to be the last to go.

GFeret on August 16, 2014 at 1:15 am

the wrecking ball’s made headway into the theatre auditorium the last day or two. it’s horrible and heartbreaking to look at even in passing. there’s a positively huge old steel beam exposed that no doubt was integral to balcony support

R8teco on September 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm

IT is not 100% down yet! A very long demolition…

GFeret on December 19, 2014 at 5:03 am

just gone are the very last traces of the gold ol' RENA theatre with the demolition finishing up on the southern auditorium wall as I saw yesterday

davidplomin on May 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Very sad. I used to drive down Roosevelt Road up until a year or so ago. Took pictures of this block. It could have been renovated and reused, as well as the storefronts and apts adjoining it. Didn’t the alderman care? Look at the neighborhood! What does he actually do to earn his salary? Seriously. I’d like to know, cause driving by, I still see plenty of empty lots and boarded up buildings.

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 9:51 pm

This opened on October 19th, 1927. I uploaded its grand opening ad in the photo section.

DavidZornig on January 18, 2021 at 2:07 am

1931 Yiddish poster added courtesy Noach Hoffman.

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