Chicago Landmarks

Congress Theater

Exterior view of Congress Theater entrance, photo by Terry Tatum, 2000     Address: 2117-2139 N. Milwaukee Ave. / 2117-2139 N. Rockwell Ave.
Year Built: 1925 - 1926
Architect: Fridstein & Co.
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: July 10, 2002

Terra-cotta detail, photo by Terry Tatum, 2000 The Congress Theater is one of the most intact surviving neighborhood movie "palaces" in Chicago dating from the boom years of the 1920s. The large building is dominated by an elaborate four-story entrance pavilion designed in a combination of the Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance architectural styles, extensively detailed in terra cotta. On the interior, the theater forms a grand progression of lavishly ornamented spaces, culminating in a dramatic 2,904-seat auditorium. The Congress Theater is an excellent example of a "theater block," a building type combining a movie theater with stores and apartments. The theater was built for Bubliner & Trinz, operators of one of Chicago's largest movie theater chains during the 1920s.