Stratford Theatre

715 W. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60621

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: National Theaters Corp., Stanley-Warner Theatres, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Walter W. Ahlschlager, Hans Teichert

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Stratford Theatre

Opened on September 4, 1920 with Elsie Ferguson in “Lady Rose’s Daughter” and a Max Sennett comedy. Located in the heart of the-then bustling Englewood business district, the Stratford Theatre was a large theatre which presented vaudeville acts as well as movies for its first couple of decades. It was equipped with a Moller 3 manual 22 ranks organ.

Built for the Cooney Brothers National Theaters Corp circuit, the Stratford Theatre was operated by Warner Brothers from the 1930’s into the 1950’s.

With the 1931 opening of the palatial and even larger Southtown Theatre just up 63rd Street, the Stratford Theatre’s popularity started to wane.

The Southtown Theatre very quickly succeeded the Stratford Theatre as the neighborhood’s premier entertainment venue. The Stratford Theatre managed to remain in business, ironically, for many years after the Southtown Theatre closed and was converted into Carr’s department store in the late-1950’s.

The Stratford Theatre has since been torn down.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

thedoberman on November 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Jan did you go to lewis-chapman grade school?I went there kindergarden thru grade 7B remember in those days they had grades a and b?I practically lived at 63 and halstead.All ways went with my mother to 3 sisters restaurant at normal and 63st.john(jack)I seen BAMBI at the ACE theater when it was a new movie i think it was new.In the late 40s.

rjfullcircle on November 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

We shopped occasionally at 63rd & Halstead. I went to Sawyer Ave. School and Gage Park High.

thedoberman on November 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm

All i did was shop at 63st and halstead and down town at the loop.I am probly a lot older than you but i eather took the streetcar down town or EL and with $1.00 i went to the CHICAGO THEATRE AND TO A wimpys hamburger stand and then to the STATE AND LAKE theatre and home again.Then gave my grandmother the change back.This was 1949,50,51,DAMN i never knew i could get so old.I just retired as a truck driver 9 mths ago.But i sure remember those good theatres.PHOENIX AZ only had 6 theatres in the whole damn city then.JOHN

Englewood on December 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm

To: thedoberman and Jan Fricke

The restaurant at 63rd and Normal Blvd. was called the Lauer Sisters Restaurant. BTW, just after the turn of the 20th century, the original Englewood Theater stood where Lauer Sisters would later have their place.

I wrote an article for Nostalgia Digest (Summer Issue, 2008) about Bob Hope and how he got his real start at the Stratford Theater. The year, I believe was 1928 or 1929. The name of the magazine is Nostalgia DIGEST, not Magazine. They are two different publications.

CompassRose on February 20, 2011 at 9:04 am

View of the Stratford from 1961: Stratford, 1961.

Broan on November 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

Here is a 1921 view of the Stratford and Englewood.

swansroad on December 15, 2012 at 6:36 am

Sitting by the Swan Pool at the Southtown is one of my most wonderful memories as a kid…..what a theatre. I was able to see 3 double features a day at all the movie houses around 63rd and Halstead when I spent summers at my grandparents and while they were at work. I’m still looking for a good foto of the lobby of the Southtown. Great memories.

Broan on April 15, 2024 at 1:18 pm

Notice that the rendering in the opening ad does not match the theater in photographs. I think this was originally to be designed by Ahlschlager but ultimately built to another plan. This report ( gives William G. Krieg as the architect, though that could have been supervising construction.

Broan on April 16, 2024 at 9:33 am Here’s another of the original Ahlschlager rendering, which is different from what was built.

Broan on April 16, 2024 at 10:01 am

A 1922 article further explains that William G. Krieg was connected with the Ahlschlager firm. Krieg was previously president of Midland Terra Cotta. Midland also did the terra cotta for the Portage Park, which bears a resemblance to the Stratford.

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