4614 N. Lincoln Avenue,
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Architects: Walter W. Ahlschlager
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Pershing Theater
Opened November 6, 1918 for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit as the Pershing Theater in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, then a predominantly German-American area of Chicago.
It originally showed first-run films, but by the 1930’s was also screening German-language films, which it continued to do into the early-1960’s, when it became a second-run house. It once sat up to 1,500 patrons in its main auditorium, but in the 1980’s, the Davis Theater was divided into four screens.
After many years of neglect, the Davis Theater was recently refurbished and its stained-glass windows, antique movie posters in the lobby, and old-fashioned vending equipment were retained.
One of its four auditoriums was given over to art and foreign films, and this small auditorium is now called the Davis Art. When threatened a couple years ago with demolition for replacement by a condominium, residents of the neighborhood surrounding the beloved Davis Theater were outraged and protested against the plans vigorously, and the theater was saved. It was closed for refurbishment in January 2016 and reopened December 15, 2016 with 3-screens, one seating 300 and two each seating 135.
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