North Center Theatre

4031 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60618

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Essaness Theaters Corp.

Architects: Walter W. Ahlschlager

Styles: Adam, Spanish Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

North Center Marque

The North Center Theatre was opened February 3, 1926 with Matt Moore in “The First Year” plus variety acts on the stage. It was equipped with a Kimball 3 manual 21 ranks theatre pipe organ which was opened by organist Arthur Gutow. It was closed in 1963.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in May 1941:

CHICAGO-The Essaness Vogue, which has been recently remodeled, had a gala opening Friday. Another Essaness house, the North Center, which has also been remodeled, will have its official opening Thursday.

HughJazz on August 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm

The grocery store at Lincoln & Belle Plaine was called “Red Owl”, and had a red, black and white owl’s cartoon face as its outside logo. On the west side of Lincoln was the “Childrens Bargain Town” toy store.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 10, 2012 at 7:07 am

Open 1925-1963

In 1925 a Kimball Theater Pipe Organ 3/21 Manuals/Rank (Keyboard/Sets of Pipes) was shipped to this theater.

William Wallace Kimball founded the W.W. Kimball and Company in Chicago in 1857. At certain times in the 19th and 20th centuries it was the largest piano and organ manufactuer. Kimball began assembling REED organs in 1877. The factory produced 15,000 organs a year, as the world’s largest organ maker. They produced 403,390 REED organs. The PIPE organ division built 7,326 models. They also went on to make ELECTRONIC/ELECTRIC organs.

From the photos above the console in 2007, was in a residence in Omaha, Nebraska. Anyone know what happened to the pipes?

clarkw on March 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm

The organ itself went to Jim Walgreen and was broken up for parts when he got rid of everything. It was in BAD shape by that point, which is really a shame.

rivest266 on June 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

February 3rd, 1926 grand opening ad has been posted here.

DavidZornig on May 6, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Circa 1930’s post card added courtesy of Jared Kachelmeyer.

rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 12:26 am

April 16th, 1949 grand reopening ad in the photo section.

DavidZornig on March 25, 2021 at 7:01 pm

1936 postcard with North Center vertical sign on the left. Enlargeable within link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 13, 2021 at 4:37 pm

An item about the Walter Alschlager’s plans for this house in the November 1, 1924 issue of Moving Picture World said that the building would have an Adamesque fa├žade and the auditorium would be decorated in the Spanish Renaissance style.

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on September 14, 2022 at 8:22 pm

The opening organist’s name is spelled (Arthur) Gutow.

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