Ark Theatre

858 E. 63rd Street,
Chicago, IL 60637

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gollos Brothers

Architects: Erwin G. Fredrick, Hans Teichert

Firms: Grossman & Proskauer

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Drexel Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ark Theatre

Opened in 1912, the Drexel Theatre was located in the Woodlawn neighborhood, on E. 63rd Street at the intersection of S. Drexel Avenue. It sat near the larger Woodlawn Theatre, which opened a few years after the Drexel Theatre. The Drexel Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 4 ranks organ.

During the 1920’s, the theatre was part of the Fecher & Nortman circuit, which included other South Side theatres such as the Lexington Theatre, the Kimbark Theatre and the Harvard Theatre.

The Drexel Theatre was remodeled in a Streamline Moderne style in May 1940 to the plans of architect Erwin G, Federick and interior designer Hans Teichert. On April 10, 1940 it was renamed the Ark Theatre when it was operated as the flagship of the Gollos Brothers chain, and continued to operate at least through the 1960’s. The theatre has since been demolished.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

dvdmike on January 27, 2005 at 9:49 am

In the ‘50s & '60s, the Crown Propeller Lounge was located on the site of the old Drexel Theater.

KenC on March 30, 2006 at 7:53 pm

The Ark theatre (aka Drexel) was in operation at least through May 1959. From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings, Friday April 19,1957: ARK -LOW PRICES ADULTS .25 CHILDREN .10.(No films are listed.) From the Sun Times Sunday, May 10, 1959: ARK –“THE VIKINGS” “BOUNTY HUNTER” “FLAMING FRONTIER”.

Broan on June 11, 2006 at 5:37 am

Architects were Grossman & Proskauer

KenC on October 17, 2006 at 4:28 pm

The Ark theatre was open at least through mid February 1965. From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings on Thursday Feb. 11,1965: ARK 858 E. 63rd- Op. 1:30 “FORT DOBBS” “MADEMOISELLE STRIPTEASE” “NEVER PUT IT IN WRITING”.

KenC on December 3, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Just a wild guess, Bryan: Kimbark Ave. was (is) located 1300 east.The Kimbark theatre, near 63rd and Kimbark, was open at least through mid 1960. The Kim theatre was at 62nd- Halsted. Bark would seem to be a silly name for a theatre. Perhaps new owners decided on the name Ark, which was about 4 blocks from Kimbark Ave.

ellde on August 10, 2007 at 11:34 pm

In the 1940’s this was the nastiest little show ever, your feet would always stick to the floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 11, 2009 at 10:43 pm

A couple of interior photos of the recently remodeled Ark Theatre were published in the May 25, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The new Art Moderne design had been done by architect Erwin G. Fredrick, in association with interior designer Hans Teichert.

DavidZornig on April 19, 2009 at 8:20 am

I’m looking for a possible link with any exterior pictures of the Trianon Ballroom also on 63rd St.
All that seems to ever come up is postcards of the same interior shots.
Exterior shots of the Trianon have proved quite elusive. Thanks.

Elld on August 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

2017 I don’t even recognize 63rd Street, everything is gone! You would have to have been here in the late 30’s early 40’s to understand. A cummunity lost!

rivest266 on August 15, 2020 at 11:37 am

Reopened by the Gollos Brothers (Ray, Woodlawn and Midway) as the Ark theatre on April 10th, 1940. Grand opening ad posted.

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