Marshfield Theater

1650 W. Roosevelt Road,
Chicago, IL 60608

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Marks Brothers

Architects: Alexander L. Levy

Nearby Theaters

This small Near West Side theater, seating just under 300, was designed by architect Alexander Levy in 1910. It was located on W.Roosevelt Road, between Ashland Avenue and Paulina Street, near the present-day Chicago campus of the University of Illinois. It opened on April 10, 1911

During the 1920’s, the Marks Brothers circuit operated the Marshfield Theater.

After closing as a movie house, the former Marshfield Theater was converted into a community center, which it served as much longer than it did a theater.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Disability and Human Development Building is now on the site of the theatre.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Broan on October 21, 2007 at 9:52 pm

The Marshfield was designed by Alexander Levy according to the building permit index.

kencmcintyre on October 22, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Any connection with the Marshall Fields department store?

kencmcintyre on October 22, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Fair enough. I know the department store is, or was, a big deal in Chicago and I thought there might some relationship.

JAlex on December 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

Was this one of the theatres operated by O. T. Crawford, of St. Louis, in the early 19-teens?

Broan on September 17, 2023 at 12:38 pm

The Marshfield opened April 10, 1911 was the first theater for Marks & Goodman, the predecessor firm to Marks Brothers and Goodman & Harrison. Officially known as Marshfield Amusement Company, Marks & Goodman later became Marks, Goodman, & Marks and Marks, Goodman, Marks & Harrison. This company opened the Marshfield, Orpheus, Illington, Broadway Strand, and Marshall Square, and briefly operated the Shakespeare.

The firm broke apart in 1923 while the Granada was in planning, with Marks Brothers keeping the 12th Street/Roosevelt Road theaters (Broadway-Strand, Marshfield, and Orpheus) and Goodman & Harrison keeping the 22nd Street/Cermak Road theaters (Illington and Marshall Square).

Marks Brothers would soon focus on bigger projects. They would build the Granada and Marbro, as well as the Embassy on Fullerton (a project taken over from Lubliner & Trinz). The Genesee in Waukegan was originally intended for Marks (note that the marquee matches the Granada), and built the Admiral, but pulled out just before opening probably due to financial problems of that building’s owner. There was an additional unbuilt project, the 3000 seat Araby, for 1365 N Milwaukee Ave. in 1927 and proposals for a 5100 seat theatre near 63rd & Cottage Grove, and what would have been the city’s largest theater at State & Adams in the Loop. However, Marks Brothers found themselves shut out of supply of pictures from Balaban & Katz’s anticompetitive policies, and could only reliably get Fox and Warner pictures. While Marks Brothers was perhaps the greatest rival to Balaban & Katz’s palaces at its height, and paid dearly to do so, they were scooped up by B&K just days after the 1929 stock market crash.

Goodman & Harrison, meanwhile, remained in business with a handful of small theatres into the mid-1960s.

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