Chicago's Patio Theater May Be Returned to Former Glory

A new owner has purchased the Patio Theater in the Chicago neighborhood of Portage Park, located on Irving Park Road. The auditorium is an Atmospheric theater with twinkling stars and drifting clouds on the simulated night sky. According to the theater's website, the capacity is 1,496 seats.

The Patio opened on January 29, 1927 when silent films were still standard fare. A 3 manual, 10 rank Barton Theater Organ was installed to accompany the films. The organ is still there, according to sources, it is the last Barton theater organ still in its original installation.

The single screen theater was built in a neighborhood and never suffered the multi-plexing that happened to so many old theaters, and it was never demolished as also happened to so many old theaters. The survivor closed in 2001, had some restoration performed on it in 2019 to reopen in 2011. It closed again and reopened in 2016. The new owner is showing films and some live performances.

Chris Bauman, the new owner, plans to refurbish the old gem and reopen it - again. The marquee has been struck several times by passing trucks and one of Bauman's first tasks will be to resolve the marquee's issues.

The Patio Theater is not on the NRHP but it is certainly eligible.

Block Club Chicago article about the Patio.

Cinema Treasures article about the Patio.

Patio Theater website.

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