Highland Park Theatre

445 Central Avenue,
Highland Park, IL 60035

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brotman & Sherman Theaters

Architects: William D. Mann

Styles: Tudor Revival

Previous Names: Alcyon Theatre

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News About This Theater

Highland Park Theatre

The Tudor Revival style Alcyon Theatre was opened on September 24, 1925. It was equipped with a Barton 3 manual 13 ranks organ. It was renamed Highland Park Theatre on August 14, 1965. It has since been split into four screens.

The most striking feature of the theatre is its odd blocky marquee and the strange color blocks which decorate the entrance. Definitely a mix of styles.

It was closed on May 6, 2012 and demolition began in June 2018.

Contributed by Dave Wiegers

Recent comments (view all 47 comments)

gregger59 on September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I agree, LTS. I spoke last summer to Willis Johnson, owner of Classic Cinemas who saved a good number of theaters in the Western Suburbs, and basically he said the primary factor that sealed the HPT’s fate was when the city allowed Landmark to build its multiscreen theater practically next door at Renaissance Place. Too many screens in too small a geography. Meanwhile, Alcyon Foundation could not generate sufficient interest in the community in having and preserving a vintage theater. Their communication efforts were not helped by the fact that the theater’s historic architecture and charm had been totally compromised and papered over decades prior, so that hardly anyone could muster any sentiment for the building. The weird chapter of the theater being owned and run briefly by the City is fun to discuss but not really relevant. (Surely if the City cared, some improvements to meet fire code could have kept it open.) The other factors make up the typical recipe for losing an old theater, so far as I can see.

DavidZornig on June 7, 2018 at 12:54 am

Demolition to begin next week.
Chicago Tribune link.


Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Such a shame it was not saved. It might have made a good performing arts venue.

Hugh on September 3, 2018 at 4:31 am

Considering all the promises the city made to Apple Tree Theater, none of where were kept, who would trust the city to do anything for the arts? (This is now the fourth movie theater to be demolished in Highland Park. Such a good track record!)

Hugh on November 3, 2018 at 7:55 pm

November 3 – Not only is the theater gone but they are already starting on its replacement building.

jonrev on December 18, 2018 at 7:47 am

Article with final photos of the place before it was demolished. https://jonrev.com/2018/06/10/highland-park-theater/

rivest266 on March 26, 2022 at 5:33 pm

Reopened as Highland Park on August 14th, 1965. Grand opening ad poste

50sSNIPES on July 5, 2022 at 1:21 am

The Alcyon Theatre Opened On September 24, 1925.

DavidZornig on January 25, 2023 at 1:18 am

Two images added to gallery.
Additional history below credit Highland Park Historical Society.

Shortly after the opening, owners William and Bertha Pearl executed a 15 year lease for both the Alycon and Pearl for 35,000$/year to the Highland Park Theater Co, according to the Chicago Tribune (Nov. 3, 1925), citing lawyers for both parties. The 1925 theater installed a “3/13” Barton Organ. (Junchen, David L. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ. Pasadena, Calif: Showcase Publications, 1985.) In January 1928, a “bandit” robbed the safe and fled with $2100, 3 days income. The thief covered the assistant manager, Saul Greenberg, with a blanket before locking him in the washroom. (Chicago Daily Tribune) The Bulletin of the Chicago Medical Society V33 cites the Alycon for installing systems so the “hearing impaired” could listen to “Talkies.”
In 1940, Pearl installed additional RCA sound equipment in the (now) 1150 seat theater.“ (Motion Picture Herald. New York, N.Y: Quigley Pub. Co., vol. 140, nos. 71-113. 1940.)

BigGreenBag on January 19, 2024 at 8:13 pm

Reading Matt Singers book “Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel and Ebert Changed Movies Forever” and this theater is named as the inspiration for their famous Balcony set. This was the childhood theater of set designer Michael Lowenstein, and he took the “Spanish design” of the theater and its original single auditorium and balcony layout

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