Sunday, November 24, 2013

PHOTO: Southtown Theater - Englewood

Southtown Theater @ 610 W. 63rd St.

The photo above is the late Southtown Theater located at 610 W. 63rd Street in Englewood. It was one of a few theaters that was once located near 63rd & Halsted.  The Southtown was a movie palace that was in operation from 1931 to 1958 and later was converted for use as a department store until it was finally torn down in 1991. I wanted to do a post like this since the picture above - taken in the 1930s - of the Southtown was posted to the FB group Forgotten Chicago.

When the Whole Foods Market store was announced back in September I did a post about what YOU would like to see at 63rd & Halsted. Noted that it was home to many theaters and of course many of us know it's history as a very well patronized commercial area. The area while known for retail, this area could also be described as an area for entertainment with the Englewood and Statford Theaters among others nearby (refer to this map). BTW, the Stratford is often said to be where Bob Hope - who was a comedian on radio, film, and TV - got his first start.

Recently having found a posting over at RAGE's FB page with founder Aysha Butler wanting another movie theater, I was reminded that there is already a cinema in the Englewood area. ICE Theaters continues to own the property located behind the Sears building at 62nd & Western. After what happened with their former Chatham 14 property ICE's owners were making plans to reopen the 62nd/Western theaters this year although that doesn't appear likely to happen at this point.

In bringing a theater to Englewood that would be a good start to bring Hollywood back to the community. It was always my first thought to say that 62nd/Western was an odd location for a theater tucked away from Western Avenue and 63rd Street. My favored location as it was in that previous what would you like to see follow-up post from September is to bring a cinema back to 63rd/Halsted and bring some activity to that area.

If a theater does one day return hopefully it would evoke the legacy of entertainment in Englewood. In the meanwhile all we can do at the moment is continue to dream.

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