Casino Theater

From HistoryWiki

Casino Theater Soundex Code C250

7053 N. Clark Street

Ad in Chicago Tribune, Friday, July 16, 1915.

Said to have been short-lived and put out of business by competition with the Adelphi Theater a couple of blocks to the south.

Status: Closed

Screens: Single Screen

Seats: 299

Chain: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Firm: Unknown

The Casino Theater was open at least from 1913-1914. The white and green glazed brick building, in a block containing a number of stores, now contains two storefronts. Until a few years ago, the theater portion was identifiable by an arched parapet wall, but this has since been removed.

The former Casino Theater at 7053 N. Clark Street was the oldest motion picture theater in Rogers Park and was documented in an article published in the Chicago Tribune on August 6, 1911 (below). It had a facade of glazed green and white brick with terra cotta trim. This was built in the middle of the nickelodeon craze, which lasted from 1905 until 1914. For a small admission you could enter and stay as long as you liked. A typical nickelodeon might show short features 16 hours a day, from 8 a.m. until midnight.

Many early theaters were simply converted storefronts. These acquired a dangerous reputation, since they weren't fireproof and the early nitrate film stock was extremely flammable. It's interesting that this theater only had 299 seats. According to the Chicago Building Code of 1922, 300 or more seats would define this as a Class V construction, requiring greater attention to safety features at a greater expense.

The Casino was put out of business as larger, more elaborate theaters were constructed nearby. As movie theaters became more profitable the early ones were often superseded by larger models. The marquee was removed and it was converted into a storefront. Sometime since then, the rounded parapet has been squared, making it even harder to spot this for what it was.

Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1911, page H18

After years of waiting, Rogers Park is finally to be rewarded with a real, up to date theater and business block. A contract has just been closed for the purchase of the property at the northeast corner of Clark Street and Greenleaf Avenue, fronting ninety-three feet on Clark Street and 100 feet on Greenleaf Avenue.

Although the price is not definitely known, it is understood that it sets a new high record for land values in this vicinity. Being in the heart of the business and residence district, only a short distance from the Chicago & Northwestern Railway station, on the line of the North Clark street cars and within easy access of nearly every home in the suburb, this corner is looked upon by real estate experts as one of the most desirable for business improvements in Rogers Park.

The new building will be known as the Casino Theater block, and it is expected that ground will be broken in the near future. The improvement, which will be two stories high, will contain, besides the theater, six high class, steam heated stores, four of which will front on Clark Street. The second floor will be given over to offices for physicians, dentists, artists, etc.