Mode Theatre

3912 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Essaness Theaters Corp.

Architects: Cornelius Ward Rapp, George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: B. Leo Steil & Co., Rapp & Rapp

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Keystone Theatre, Teatro Puerto Rico, Festival Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Mode Theatre

Opened as the Keystone Theatre on December 17, 1913, this theatre was located in the Lakeview neighborhood, on N. Sheridan Road near W. Dakin Street. It was designed by architectural firm Rapp & Rapp and operated by the Essaness circuit in its early years.

In 1935, after an Art Deco remodelling to the plans of architectural firm B. Leo Steil & Co., the theatre was renamed the Mode Theatre. Around the mid-to-late-1960’s, the theatre was renamed the Teatro Puerto Rico, showing Spanish-language films. In 1969, the theatre was renamed again, as the Festival Theatre, which was originally an art house cinema, but by the early-1970’s, had begun to show pornographic films. The Festival Theatre closed in 1983.

The former theatre, after housing a grocery store for years, was demolished in early-2005. A new building has been constructed on the site with a bank on the street level and condominiums on the upper floors.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 89 comments)

DavidZornig on February 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I just added a Free Pass image in the photos section. It was for both the Festival and Aardvark down on Wells Street in Pipers Alley. Image courtesy of Bill West.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I’d have to say in this case the new development is better for the neighborhood. The Mode wasn’t much to begin with, it was never going to be a theater again, and it was run down when they demolished it. The condos aren’t anything special. But they are bright and new and seem to be reasonably occupied. Now if only Thorek Hospital would stop buying property and land-banking it the neighborhood might completely fill in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

The January 24, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World said that Charles J. Schaefer had opened the Keystone Theatre on December 17. He was already operating the Lyceum Theatre and the Garfield Theatre, and was contemplating the construction of a 1,600 seat house on the North Side of Chicago. Another source indicates that the Garfield Theatre Schaefer operated was the one at 2844 W. Madison.

The 1935 Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to says that the remodeling of the Keystone Theatre in to the Mode Theatre was designed by the firm of B. Leo Steil & Co.

Boxoffice no longer provides direct links between magazine pages on its web site, so here are links to the three pages on which the article about the Mode appears:




DavidZornig on July 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm

1975 photo of the Festival Theatre by Bob Rehak. Copy & paste to view.

Broan on October 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm 1913 article indicates Rapp & Rapp were architects for a theater at Sheridan/Dakin.

rso1000 on December 8, 2015 at 10:29 pm

In the Final Years the store fronts north of the entrance were demolished for parking lot as the Auditorium was converted to a food store for a couple of years. I do NOT recall if the Lobby was retained or also demolished for parking.

DavidZornig on April 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

1975 photo as The Festival added, © and credit Saul Smaizys.

steveshadow63 on July 30, 2016 at 8:09 pm

I worked at the Mode during high school. When it became the Festival, I was the manager. For a fictional look at both the operation of the theater and the neighborhood, see the two books written by author Steve Shadow. “Sin-Ema Festival” is an x-rated parody of the theaters porn days. “The Savage Little Flea” is about the management and crew that ran the theater and how they became involved in Mexican lucha-libre wrestling.Both books are available from Amazon as paper backs or e-books. Those were exciting days for a plethora of reasons. Will try and find old pictures to post.

Broan on September 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

No Man’s Land was the unincorporated area between Wilmette and Kenilworth along Sheridan Road, nowhere near Lakeview. The Teatro was the Teatro del Lago, not the Mode.

DavidZornig on November 22, 2018 at 8:35 pm

1975 photo added courtesy of the Photographs From The 1970s Facebook page.

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