Paulina Theater

1339 N. Paulina Street,
Chicago, IL 60622

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gumbiner Bros.

Architects: Cornelius Ward Rapp, George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Nearby Theaters

Sanborn Map 1914

This Wicker Park neighborhood theater, which opened in 1913, could seat over 800 in its auditorium. The Paulina Theatre was located on N. Paulina Street, off the then-and-now thriving N, Milwaukee Avenue commercial corridor, next to the former flagship location of the Wieboldt’s department store chain (converted into office and retail space several years ago).

The Paulina Theater was built for the Gumbiner Brothers circuit. On October 2, 1948 it suffered damage by a fire which destroyed the stage and damaged the auditorium. Repairs were carried out and it had reopened by August 1949. It contained a 16-rank Wurlitzer organ that was removed prior to the theater’s closing in June 1951, and, partially rebuilt, combined with parts of a Kimball organ from Philadelphia’s Uptown Theatre, had seen frequent use at the Gateway Theatre in the Jefferson Park neighborhood, when it was until recently home to the Silent Film Society of Chicago.

The theater was demolished years ago, after having been converted into a bowling alley after its movie days ended, and its site is now the parking lot of a Jewel Food store.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Broan on June 10, 2006 at 7:46 am

This was another very early Rapp & Rapp house.

PaulWolter on April 14, 2007 at 9:58 pm

The Chicago Historical Society database of Chicago building permits list a permit issued December 7, 1912 to owner Investors Theatre Co. and architects C.W. & G.L. Rapp

Chrisk36 on May 1, 2007 at 2:49 pm

It was a bowling alley for a while. Evergreen Bowl. I lived on Julian St. nearby from 41 to 62. It was our family night theatre growing up and have a lot of fond memories of the theatre and the neighborhood.

noodles on May 3, 2007 at 11:12 am

Does anyone out there have any photos of this theater? I currently live on Paulina and have long wondered what stood in the place of the awful stripmall there now. It would be greatly appreciated if someone can either post a photo or direct me where there might be one. Thannks!

GFeret on January 30, 2019 at 4:44 pm

elsewhere online I’ve seen a color photo of this old paulina theatre, well almost, because it came from the days after it’d been converted to a bowling alley (‘60s?). And I remember it, though at the time I didn’t know its original purpose. I’m rather surprised it’s not included here on cinema treasures anyway, because it seems to be all that survives

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