Alex Theater

3826 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Additional Info

Firms: Postie & Mahler

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Hamlin Theater

Nearby Theaters

Alex Theater - Madison & Hamlin (Chicago's West Side)

This theater was originally known as the Hamlin Theater and was located close to Garfield Park on W. Madison Street at S. Hamlin Boulevard in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. It opened in 1910 as a vaudeville house with 1,200 seats. It later turned to movies as the primary entertainment. In 1925-1926 it operated as the Wigwam dance hall. It was reopened as the Hamlin Theaters again and closed in 1934.

In 1938, the theater was remodeled in an Art Moderne style and also received a new name, the Alex Theater when it reopened on May 22, 1938 with Claire Trevor in “Walking Down Broadway”. It continued to operate until closure in 1976.

A parking lot is on the site of the former Alex Theater.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 71 comments)

BobbyS on November 23, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I assume they were lawyers or doctors right?

Trolleyguy on November 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Their clients may have been. These ladies were engaged in what is referred to as: “The world’s oldest profession.”

JAYJay on November 24, 2016 at 10:50 am

I can remember a gym on one of the upper floors where Pro Boxers trained ? When a young kid a friend and I went up to see it.

JAYJay on November 24, 2016 at 10:59 am

Anyone rem. the Crawford theater at about 100 s. Pulaski… orig. called Crawford av. back then. It later changed names to the National theater and showed Spanish movies. It was located just s. of Goldblatts

BobbyS on November 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Went there many times. Hard to understand the beautiful Marbro being closed and the Alex and Crawford stayed open for awhile.There were hold-ups outside the Marbro as well as inside and we were told to keep our eyes open around us. I can only imagine what went on inside the Alex & Crawford!

JAYJay on November 25, 2016 at 6:20 am

It wasn’t only TV that killed movie theaters…. It was the clientele ! The Gangs and Thugs that moved into what were once decent neighborhoods was a huge factor.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

The Hamlin re-opened as the modernized Alex on the night of May 22nd, 1938. An ad has been uploaded to the photos section.

Mister_Comics on September 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Old ads and program flyers show the address as 3826 W. Madison.

DavidZornig on February 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Original 1911 Hamlin Theatre facade image added.

Broan on November 12, 2021 at 7:39 pm

The Hamlin/Alex was evidently an elaborate but failed dance hall called the Wigwam from 1925-1926. The Tribune gives the address of the Wigwam as 3826 Madison. The owners were Butch Crowley, a Joliet bootlegger, and Ned Allen, former warden of Joliet prison.

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